Lawmakers are looking once again at the pharma industry’s tax exemption for advertising expenses.
Sixteen Senators, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), have co-sponsored a bill to end that exemption, called the End Taxpayer Subsidies for Drug Ads Act.
Warren’s office said in a statement that the legislation is “ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize drug advertisements.”
The act would amend the internal revenue code to deny the deduction for advertising and promotional expenses for prescription drugs. The bill would apply across all media, including print, out-of-home, direct mail, radio, TV, and digital ads.
Lawmakers have introduced similar versions of the bill in recent years, including one last March by former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and another in the House in 2017. Although none of those bills became law, the latest version has been introduced as the pressure on pharma companies is high in Washington as lawmakers try to address rising drug prices.
A recent study from Dartmouth found that pharma companies spent $6 billion on prescription DTC advertising in 2016.