January 11, 2019

Warren Joins Shaheen, Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Close Big Pharma Advertising Tax Loophole

Bill Would Eliminate Tax Deductions for Prescription Drug Advertising Paid for by American Taxpayers

Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and fourteen of their Senate colleagues in introducing the End Taxpayer Subsidies for Drug Ads Act, legislation that would prohibit pharmaceutical drug manufacturers from claiming tax deductions for consumer advertising expenses.
Advertising expenses by pharmaceutical drug manufacturers have more than quadrupled over the past two decades, rising from $1.3 billion in 1997 to $6 billion in 2016. In that same time period, advertising from drug companies has increased from 79,000 ads to 4.6 million ads, including 663,000 TV commercials. Economists have estimated that nearly one third of the growth in drug companies’ spending can be attributed to the increase in advertising for prescription drugs. Under current law, drug manufacturers are allowed to deduct the cost of advertising expenses from federal taxes. This aggressive advertising also increases demand and allows drug companies to increase prices. The End Taxpayer Subsidies for Drug Ads Act would eliminate this tax deduction for drug advertising costs, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize drug advertisements.
The End Taxpayer Subsidies for Drug Ads Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Angus King (I-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.),  Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
A member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Warren has been a leading voice in Washington calling for lower prescription drug prices since joining the Senate in 2013.
In December 2018, Senator Warren introduced the Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act, an ambitious proposal to lower prices and increase competition in the generic pharmaceutical market by establishing an Office of Drug Manufacturing within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tasked with manufacturing select generic drugs and offering them to consumers at a fair price that guarantees affordable patient access. 
In July 2018, she introduced the Capping Prescription Costs Act, a bill that tackles high drug costs faced by families placing a monthly cap on their out-of-pocket drug costs. The legislation caps prescription drug copays at $250 per month for individuals and $500 per month for families. The bill, which applies to all group health plans and individual market plans, ensures that individuals and families with high prescription drug costs are protected and can access their necessary medications.