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Hillary Clinton takes aim at pharma industry in White House bid

Published on 05/10/15 at 09:53am

Hillary Clinton has taken aim at the pharmaceutical industry with a campaign advert airing in two US states, in which she promises to ‘crack down’ on companies that charge over-the-odds for drugs.

The former Secretary of State, who is currently seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for President in 2016, appears in the television commercial airing in New Hampshire and Iowa, and uses the platform to criticise Martin Shkreli and his company Turing, for the recently-publicised fifty-fold increase in the parasitic disease treatment Daraprim.

The commercial shows Clinton calling for a “crack down” on drug company abuses that leave the public out of pocket and potentially priced out of the market for certain treatments, and appearing at a campaign event last months in which she said “it is time to deal with skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs.”

The advert also implies that Clinton’s intervention in the Turing story was a key factor in Shkreli’s promise to lower the price, featuring a Fox News contributor saying Clinton had “blasted him out of the water."

She tweeted shortly after the story was featured in The New York Times that “price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” and promised to lay out a plan to “take it on.”

The Clinton campaign has made pharmaceutical industry reforms aimed at reducing out-of-pocket costs for patients and curbing abuses a key part of her recent campaign.

It has been reported that the former New York Senator is proposing a $250 monthly cap on prescription drugs for patients with chronic or serious medical conditions. 

A Clinton campaign official told The Guardian the strategy also includes a plan to deny tax breaks for pharma companies that market medicines directly to consumers, and stricter regulation of drug labels to protect patients from misleading advertisements.

Clinton is also said to be considering slashing the patent period by nearly half, to speed up the market availability of cheaper generics, and encouraging companies to invest in R&D by offering federal subsidies.

Joel Levy

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