Did you know you are paying for those prescription drug ads
All across Missouri, in my town halls or at the grocery store, I’ve heard story after story from families struggling with rising healthcare costs. Whether it’s unexpected emergency room bills, rapidly increasing prescription drug prices or insurance premiums going up—Missouri families are getting squeezed.
But every time you turn on the TV, you’re flooded with drug company commercials for often-obscure prescription drugs. You’ve seen the ads—the two bathtubs, the endless litany of side effects—but did you also know that you are paying for them?
That’s right. Missouri taxpayers are subsidizing the billions of dollars drug companies spend on advertising, all while these companies jack up the costs of the drugs you may need.
This isn’t normal. The United States is one of only two countries in the world that allows this direct-to-consumer drug advertising. And the other is New Zealand.
In 2015 alone, taxpayers subsidized $6 billion in fully tax-deductible prescription drug advertising in the United States. Nearly all of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies spent more on sales and marketing than they spent on research and development. And I think Missourians are tired of paying for it.
It’s clear the big drug companies have a lot of friends and influence in Washington. But I didn’t go to Congress to make friends. I came here to fight for Missourians. And that’s why I’ve introduced legislation to repeal this corporate tax break.
This isn’t the only fight I’ve taken on against the big drug companies. After spearheading the only bipartisan congressional investigation into the egregious price spikes for certain prescription drugs, I fought through partisan gridlock to pass a law that will prevent these price hikes by speeding up the approval process for cheaper, generic alternatives.
I’m also holding opioid manufacturers’ feet to the fire for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic that’s ravaging our communities. Through my investigation, we’ve exposed fraud, improper sales practices and efforts to push back on prescription limits.
And it’s not just drug companies I’m going after. We’re seeing a troubling trend of insurance companies denying coverage for visits to the emergency room, leaving families with debt even when they have insurance coverage. Parents are being asked to self-diagnose a medical emergency or risk getting saddled with enormous bills if insurance companies decline coverage. I’m working to protect Missourians who are harmed by this dangerous and wrongheaded practice.
There’s no doubt the rising cost of Missourians’ healthcare is not an easy issue to address, one with a tangle of causes and symptoms with a tough diagnosis. But I’m not interested in picking the easy fights. I’m interested in the hard ones, the ones where every small victory means one more child with insurance coverage or one more family able to pay their bill.
So I’m going to keep doing what I know how to do best: fight on behalf of Missourians.