Declared 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate

Former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton
Born: October 26th, 1947  (age 69)

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    Candidates' Positions on Prescription Drugs

Hillary Clinton on Prescription Drugs

Clinton wants to cap out of pocket drug costs, allow the importation of cheaper drugs from other countries and make sure there are more generics on the market.

“I know that whenever anyone starts talking, as I have, about reforming prescription drugs and their prices some people worry that my proposals will threaten innovation. But I have designed a plan that will do exactly the opposite. I want to both protect consumers and promote innovation while putting an end to profiteering. We can achieve a win win for families, businesses and America. There are leaders in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries who share my concerns about high prices. They know we need to make changes they just want to make sure it’s done right and so do I.

So under my plan drug companies who want to keep getting federal support will have to redirect more of their profits into meaningful investments in research and development. That will mean more breakthroughs, more good drugs, not fewer. The way I see it if we, the American taxpayers, support your company you should be focused on delivering results that benefit us not just your shareholders and your executives.

And under my plan I will make sure that when new drugs are introduced doctors, businesses and consumers can get clear answers about exactly how these new drugs will improve upon existing treatments. I fought for this kind of transparency in the senate. Because here’s the truth: too often so called new drugs are really old drugs that have just been tweaked a little bit. But then they’re marketed as breakthrough drugs and they’re sold for high prices. Drug companies should have to explain why their new drugs are different and better then treatments on the market. Because I don’t want any of us paying for some fancy new pill that is no better then what’s already available.

I also want to tackle the direct to consumer advertising. I’m guessing that a lot of you might be surprised, even shocked, to learn your taxpayer dollars are helping pay for those ads. Other countries ban these ads because they are so often misleading. But at the very least we shouldn’t be encouraging them with corporate write-offs where you can deduct the cost of marketing. Under my plan we will instead use that taxpayer money to fund innovation. I’d rather see more treatment, more cures and way fewer ads and I think a lot of us consumers feel the same way. I would also like to make sure any ads the drug industry does run are approved by the FDA so we will know they are accurate and understandable to those consumers who are watching or reading them.

Then there’s Medicare. You know, the more than 40 million Americans enrolled in Medicare represent a huge market for the drug companies. Therefore, I believe Medicare should be able to negotiate for lower prices for its members. This would be like what the VA now does. It’s a basic feature of a free market but you know it’s actually against the law now for Medicare to negotiate for lower prices? And that makes no sense. I have been fighting to change this law for years and as president I will get it done. Because I will require drug companies to provide higher rebates for prescription drugs to low income Medicare patients just like they have to do for Medicaid patients. That would save more than 100 billion dollars in Medicare costs every year.

And you know how the republicans are always talking about how Social Security is running out of money and Medicare is running out of money? Well they way exaggerate it. Don’t get all nervous about it. They love to make it sound like it’s going to happen tomorrow with sort of ghostly music. Well we do have to make sure the Medicare trust fund is solvent. This would add to that, it would be a win win because what I see is if you get prescriptions for medicines that really help you it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t afford to fill them. So that’s why also under my plan I will cap out of pocket drug costs for working families. You won’t have to pay more than $250 dollars a month for covered medications. And we know this can work because several states already do it. I want to do this nationally so that we can keep the costs down, particularly for people who have a chronic illness.

Also under my plan you will be able to import cheaper drugs from other countries legally. If the medicine you need costs less in Canada you should be able to buy it from Canada or any other country that meets our safety standards. You know when I was privileged to represent New York, look at the map upstate New York borders Canada. Every week there would be buses of American seniors going over to Canada to buy drugs that were American manufactured, drugs that were invented by American companies, for a much cheaper price over the border. That makes no sense at all folks. And when I’m your president you will be able to do just that. Now I don’t want you to have to drive to Canada so you can order them online and get what you deserve to get. I will also be sure we have more generics on the market. That will increase competition and give doctors and patients more choices and save you money. Why don’t we have more generics on the market? Well one reason is that the FDA’s office of generic drugs has a huge backlog. Well I’m going to give them the funding and the personnel to clear that backlog and approve dozens of generic versions of expensive drugs. That’s easy to do, we can get it done, it will save you money, it will help you with your medical issues.”

22 September, 2015: Clinton campaign speech Des Moines, Iowa

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