Alex Muresianu, Nicole Kaeding
First published June 15th, 2018
In the heat of a tough reelection campaign, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has made health care a key issue. While the president recently released a series of policy proposals for lowering prescription drug costs, the Missouri Democrat is pitching a different idea: ending the deductibility of advertising expenses for drug companies. While there are policy arguments against direct-to-consumer drug advertising, trying to manipulate the tax code to curb these advertising campaigns is a clumsy and fraught way of achieving that end.
The idea of ending the deductibility of direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising is not a new proposal. Not only did Sen. McCaskill propose an amendment to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removing this deductibility, former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed a similar bill in 2016, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included ending this deduction in her health-care planduring her 2016 presidential campaign.