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Shaheen Introduces Bill to Repeal Tax Break for Big Pharma Companies Paid for by American Taxpayers

American taxpayers subsidized more than $6 billion in drug companies’ tax-deductible advertising expenses in 2015.

(Washington, DC) – This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the End Taxpayers Subsidies for Drug Ads Act with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The bill would eliminate the tax deduction for big pharmaceutical companies’ advertising costs, which is currently subsidized by American taxpayers. Taxpayers fund billions of dollars in television, online, magazine, and other direct-to-consumer advertising that drug companies use to promote their products.  Unfortunately, these expenses are fully deductible costs come tax time for pharmaceutical companies, all while those companies continue to raise the cost of prescription drug costs.

“It is completely backward that middle-class families are footing the bill so big pharmaceutical companies can enjoy a tax break,” said Senator Shaheen. “Too many American families struggle to afford necessary medications for chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, and too many of our first responders on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic worry about having access to live-saving opioid overdose antidotes like Naloxone, which have exploded in price. This is a commonsense bill that will set priorities straight and hold big pharmaceutical companies financially responsible for their own advertising expenditures and relieve American taxpayers of an unnecessary and unfair fiscal burden.”

Shaheen has long fought to combat rising drug prices, which hurt every day Americans struggling to afford the medication they need, as well as first responders in New Hampshire who carry Naloxone, the antidote that reverses opioid overdoses. A package of Evzio, a branded version of Naloxone that is manufactured by Kaleo, cost $690 in 2014 but rocketed to $4,500 in 2017 – a price increase of more than 500 percent. Just last month, Senator Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor and urged her Senate colleagues to vote against confirming Alex Azar as the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in part, due to his history as a pharmaceutical executive where he opposed government regulations on drug pricing and saw net prices of pharmaceuticals manufactured by his former company increase by double digit percentages. Shaheen previously backed bipartisan legislation to help reduce the costs of prescription drugs, which was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ).