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Mon Feb 4, 2019, 01:05 PM

Democrats should take up Claire McCaskill's efforts to end subsidies for Big Pharma commercials


America's taxpayers subsidize pharmaceutical companies' advertising by about $6 billion a year, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said this week and she's introduced a bill in Congress to end the subsidy.

Federal law allows companies that advertise to deduct some of those costs as an expense, reducing their tax liabilities.

That's where the subsidies occur, McCaskill said, telling reporters during a Thursday morning telephone conference call that her bill targets only the pharmaceutical industry not every business that claims the deduction.

"Other than New Zealand, we are the only country that allows direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs," she said. "We thought, rather than taking the step of outlawing prescription drug advertising, it would be better, at a minimum, just to take the step of not having taxpayers subsidize it."

Her bill is an outgrowth of ongoing studies she and other senators have been making of the pharmaceutical industry.

"One thing that has stuck out" in that research, McCaskill said, is "the world's 10 largest pharmaceutical firms for the last year that we have complete data were spending, in some instances, twice as much on sales and marketing as they were spending on research and development."

All but one of the top 10 companies "spent more on sales and marketing than they spent on research and development," she added, noting one company was about even, spending "$9 billion on sales and marketing, and $9.3 on R&D."

McCaskill said it's no secret to anyone watching commercial TV that "television advertising of prescription drugs has increased over the last decade and particularly over the last two or three years."

She added: "I think the thing that's most insulting about this is, it would be one thing if they were driving demand so they could bring down costs, because the more people you have taking a drug, then the less you need to make on every unit of that drug in order to maintain or even increase profit."

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Reply Democrats should take up Claire McCaskill's efforts to end subsidies for Big Pharma commercials (Original post)
Anon-C Feb 4 OP
badhair77 Feb 4 #1

Response to Anon-C (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2019, 01:26 PM

1. Totally agree.

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