Rep. Axne Introduces Bill to End Taxpayer Subsidies for Prescription Drug Advertising

Yesterday, Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduces common-sense legislation that would end taxpayer subsidies for prescription drug ads directed at U.S. consumers by big pharma.

Under current law, drug makers are allowed to deduct advertising costs from federal taxes, which means taxpayer dollars are used to subsidize drug ads.

“Iowans are paying more for their prescription drugs than ever before while giant pharmaceutical companies are making record profits in part by exploiting loopholes in our tax code to flood our airwaves with government-subsidized television ads. Iowa taxpayers. This is unacceptable and insulting to the people of Iowa who tell me at every town hall that I appreciate the incredible lengths they will go to just to pay for their medications,” said Representative Axne. “I’m proud to join MP Slotkin and MP Trone in bringing forward legislation that will remove these drug company tax breaks and stop my constituents’ tax dollars from funding the endless carousel of prescription ads on their TVs. .”

the No Tax Relief for Drug Ads Act would prohibit any tax deductions for direct-to-prescription drug (DTC) advertising, ensuring that taxpayers’ money is not used to subsidize drug advertisements.

The bill would cover any advertising referring to a prescription drug and aimed primarily at the general public, including through journals, magazines, newspapers, broadcast media such as radio and television, and online platforms. digital such as social media and web applications.

DTC Ad Spend by Pharmaceutical Companies have more than quadrupled over the past two decades, from $1.3 billion in 1997 to $6 billion in 2016. Over the same period, pharmaceutical company advertising grew from 79,000 ads to 4.6 million ads, including 663,000 TV ads .


the No Tax Relief for Drug Ads Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives today with Representatives Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and David Trone (MD-06).

“For years, American taxpayers have subsidized the horrific ads that pharmaceutical companies run on television to promote their own products to the tune of billions of dollars. It is time for these subsidies to end,” Rep. Slotkin said. “Most Michigan residents can barely turn on their televisions without seeing one of these ads, which typically promote the most expensive brand name drugs. Taxpayers shouldn’t be the ones footing the bill on behalf of the most large pharmaceutical companies in the world, especially when many of those companies pay more for television ads than for researching new drugs. Reducing the cost of prescription drugs has long been important to me, and closing this tax loophole is an important part of getting the job done.

“As millions of Americans struggle to pay for lifesaving drugs, pharmaceutical companies are using a loophole to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes. Rewarding companies with tax breaks when they continually raise their prices for consumers is simply a bad deal”, Rep. Throne said. “It’s time these companies paid their fair share. The No Tax Breaks for Drug Ads Act will do just that.”

“Pharmaceutical companies that continue to inflate their profits in the midst of a global health pandemic while tens of millions of people are suffering here at home and around the world should not be rewarded with subsidies for their advertising expenses that still cost more expensive for the taxpayers”, says Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director for Lower Drug Prices Now. “This is corporate welfare of the worst kind. We commend Congresswoman Slotkin for introducing this essential bill and hope Congress passes it quickly.

The Senate companion to this bill was presented by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

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