Utica, N.Y. - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand used the hospital pharmacy at St. Luke's Hospital in Utica Friday afternoon as the backdrop for the unveiling of her brand new prescription drug legislation called the Stop Price Gouging Act.
Gillibrand says there are four parts to her legislation.
- Require pharmaceutical corporations to report any increases in the price of their products, as well as justification for any increases that exceed medical inflation, to the Health and Human Services Inspector General as well as to the public.
- Impose a tax penalty on corporations that engage in what is deemed excessive, unjustified price increases.
- Instruct the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study, examining how drug manufacturers establish initial launch prices and suggest best practices for monitoring new drug pricing.
- Reinvest penalties collected from companies in future drug research and development at the National Institutes of Health.
Gillibrand says there have been similar bills introduced in the past, but she says those bills may have gotten some footing in the Senate, but says they've never been introduced in the House, and she says now is the time to change that, "We've seen hedge funds start buying drug companies and the first thing they do is find some of those drugs that could be monopolies and they take advantage of it and increase the prices. So I just think the behavior is getting worse and worse and it's just greed, it's absolute corporate greed that has to be reigned in."
Gillibrand is also pushing for congress to act now to pass four other bills she has co-sponsored that would help increase access and affordability of medications for seniors, one of which would cap monthly co-pays in private insurance plans for prescription drugs at $250 per person and $500 per family.
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