Kamala Harris Unveils New Plan To Have Government Set Drug Prices In Attempt To Lower Costs
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) has unveiled a new plan, called “People Over Profits,” that aims to allow the federal government to set prices for prescription drugs in an attempt to reduce the massive costs that many face purchasing needed medicine.
Harris’ proposal would task the Department of Health and Human Services with setting a “fair price” for any drug that is sold at a lower rate in an economically comparable country, such as Britain, Germany, Japan, France or Australia. The DHHS would also be able to set a fair price for any drug whose cost is suddenly raised higher than is necessary to account for inflation, as such moves are purely profit-based.
The plan would put a tax of 100% on profits made by companies selling drugs above the fair price, forcing them to comply with the government-set standard. The money raised through this tax would benefit customers through rebates or lower drug prices, ensuring that either way pharmaceutical companies would not benefit. Harris would also end the tax loophole that pharma companies receive for direct-to-consumer advertising expenses.
“As President, I will not stand idly by as Americans pay thousands of dollars for prescription drugs while big pharmaceutical companies rake in massive profits,” Harris said in a statement. “This plan puts people over profit by forcing these companies to reduce prices for consumers and holding them accountable when they gouge Americans.”
Several other Democratic candidates have released similar plans targeting big pharmaceutical companies. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) has announced that as president she would appoint a “Pharma Czar” to watch over companies, and would heavily fine them for price gouging. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) also introduced legislation to the Senate earlier this year that is very similar to Harris’ plan, which makes sense considering she co-sponsored it.
The California Democrat announced that if the bill were not passed within her first 100 days in office, she would use executive action to launch an investigation into companies who were selling drugs at lower prices in other countries or are increasing prices faster than inflation.
Harris has experience fighting with pharmaceutical companies and scored several wins as California’s attorney general. Over the course of her tenure as a prosecutor, Harris won $46 million from GlaxoSmithKline for illegal marketing, $89 million from Johnson & Johnson for unlawful marketing, and $23 million from McKesson for inflating drug prices.