Clinton Goes After Pharma; Would End Tax Break for Drug Ads

Aims to Control Amount Spent by Drug Companies

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As part of her war on high prescription prices, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton says she would end tax breaks for televised drug ads.

She rolled out her plan at a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, a proposal that also include a cap on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs to help patients with chronic or serious health conditions.

Former Secretary of State Clinton would strip pharmaceutical companies of their ability to deduct their direct-to-consumer advertising costs. The aim is to rein in unnecessary drug spending because there would be fewer ads prompting patients to press their doctors to prescribe a miracle cure they learned about on TV.

Her comments were made after disclosures that a startup drug company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a pill that treats parasitic infections from $13.50 to $750.

Mrs. Clinton said drug companies keep profits for themselves while "shifting the cost to families."

The Association of National Advertisers said the Clinton plan is unconstitutional, misguided and likely to hurt sick people who could be helped if they were aware of the development of new drugs.

"These proposals would penalize prescription drug products, however truthful, non-deceptive, and potentially life-saving they might be," said ANA lobbyist Dan Jaffe in a blog post. "We believe that consumers should have more information about their health, not less."

Last year, pharmaceuticals spent $3.2 billion on TV ads and $1.2 billion on magazine ads.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhARMA,) also punched back on the plan.

"The sweeping proposals outlined in Secretary Clinton's plan to regulate prescription drug prices would restrict patients' access to medicines, result in fewer new treatments for patients, cost countless jobs across the country and could end our nation's standing as the world leader in biomedical innovation," PhARMA said.

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