On Friday, Hillary Clinton announced a plan to address excessive and unnecessary price hikes for prescriptions drugs that have been on the market for a while. Clinton has previously proposed greater regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, including proposals to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, cap out-of-pocket costs, restrict direct-to-consumer drug advertising, and speed up the FDA approval of generic drugs.
Clinton’s unveiling of her plan comes on the heels of the national uproar over Mylan’s large price hikes for the Epipen. Clinton proposes a multi-prong plan that involves more direct federal intervention in healthcare pricing increases, diverging from prior U.S. policy and more closely aligning U.S. policy with that in countries such as Canada, France, and Australia.
Clinton’s plan foremost involves the creation of a team of federal health, safety, and antitrust agency officials, with the aim of protecting consumers through greater monitoring of drug price increases. Along with increased monitoring, Clinton advocates for tougher enforcement mechanisms and penalties on companies exhibiting “outlier” price increases.
The second major aspect of Clinton’s plan is allowing the importation of lower-priced drugs from foreign counties. In addition, the plan advocates for increased patient access to treatments through the government purchase and provision of alternative therapies.
Clinton faces major opposition from a current Republican-majority Congress and push back from Big Pharma, who claim the plan will stifle competition and disrupt an already well-performing market.
If elected President, Clinton would be able to circumvent Congress and enact certain aspects of the plan through executive action. This includes authorizing the importation of cheaper generics from foreign countries, a policy measure that is also supported by Donald Trump.