KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has released a plan to reduce prescription drug prices in the United States to the same level in European countries.
Huffington Post reported that the biggest feature of her plan empowered the US Department of Health and Human Services to set a price for prescription drugs whose prices grow quicker than inflation or are higher than another country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The average American reportedly spends hundreds of dollars more annually on prescription drugs than their counterparts in the most expensive European country.
If a pharmaceutical company still decides to set a higher price, the federal government will tax 100 per cent of every dollar made above the government-set rate.
“We’re really happy to see Sen. Harris put in place a system that would ensure we are not paying more than comparable countries,” Steve Knievel, an advocate in the Access to Medicines programme at the liberal consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, was quoted saying.
Harris, who is also California Senator, reportedly plans to prohibit pharmaceutical companies from deducting the cost of direct-to-consumer advertising from their federal taxes if she is elected US president.
Harris also reportedly pledged to investigate companies involved in price gouging that could lead to imports of cheaper foreign drugs and criminal charges against those companies, if Congress fails to pass her above-mentioned plans into legislation.
The former prosecutor planned to invoke “march-in” rights too, where the government forces a drug maker to “license” its drug patent so that rival companies are allowed to produce cheaper alternatives.
“We’re happy to see ‘march-in rights’ in there at all, but it should not just be in outlier cases for the most egregious offenders,” Knievel was quoted saying.