Hillary Clinton Plans To 'Take On' Price Gouging By Big Pharma

By May Wilkerson 09/24/15

The presidential frontrunner has taken the lead on several drug-related issues.

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Hillary Clinton
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Hillary Clinton is planning to curb the rising costs of prescription drugs and to tackle “outrageous” price gouging by drug companies, she said at various campaign events this week and on Twitter.

The Democratic presidential candidate said she aims to cap out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs to help patients with serious or chronic health issues. Her plan would also deny tax breaks to drug companies for advertising, and require the companies to invest in research and development.

"We will start by capping how much you have to pay out of pocket for prescription drugs each month,” said Clinton at a campaign event in Louisiana. “And we're going to hold drug companies accountable as we work to drive down prices."

Health care and prescription drug costs are expected to be divisive in the 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton has made it a central issue in her campaign, as part of her plan to build on Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The former secretary of state has praised the ACA for driving down the rate of uninsured Americans and criticized Republicans in Congress who have fought to repeal it.

Also this week, Clinton sparked a drop in Biotech stocks that drove the NASDAQ into the red zone when she announced via Twitter that she would take on “price gouging” by drug companies.

“Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow, I'll lay out a plan to take it on,” she tweeted, with a link to a New York Times article about a drug called Daraprim, owned by Turing Pharmaceuticals. The price of the drug, which is used to treat a life-threatening parasitic condition, skyrocketed overnight from $13.50 each to $750.

Former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, who runs Turing, defended the price hike. "This isn't the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business.” The Internet disagreed, however, and the Times article spurred a media backlash against Shkreli, who has been called “the most hated man in America.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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