Elizabeth Warren Bored Kicking Wall Street's Ass, Goes After Big Pharma For Little Change Of Pace
Elizabeth Warren took a brief break from kicking Wall Street's ass to kick some entirely new categories of corporate hinders this week, with a proposal to fund medical research with settlements from lawbreaking pharmaceutical companies. Next week, she plans to introduce a bill called the Medical Innovation Act, which would impose an extra fee on drug companies when they settle lawsuits with the government:
Her bill would create a fund that major pharmaceutical companies must pay into when they break the law and settle lawsuits brought against them by the federal government. That fund, in turn, would prop up research accounts for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
In a statement, Warren describes the fund as a "swear jar" for corporate giants, and a measure to increase accountability:
Instead of letting companies that break the law get off with a slap on the wrist, the Medical Innovation Act will make sure that they pay up in a way that really makes a difference -– a difference to the health of all Americans, and a difference to all of the company’s competitors who are playing by the rules.
Yr Wonkette fully supports this "swear jar" proposal, and we hope that it will be extended by giving executives of corporate lawbreakers a time out and maybe not letting them have any dessert for a month. Repeat offenders could be forced to appear on Fox with "Dr." Keith Ablow, maybe.
The penalties would apply to companies selling "blockbuster" drugs with sales of over $1 billion annually, and would require dirty companies -- those who settle charges of defrauding Medicare or Medicaid, for instance -- to pay 1 percent of their annual profits on such drugs. The "swear jar" funds would then be used for research into "treatments for unmet and under-met medical needs" as well as basic biomedical research. The fund would supplement existing appropriations for the NIH and FDA, and includes a stipulation that the funding would only be made available in years when Congressional appropriations keep pace with inflation, to prevent Congress from cutting regular funding and letting the swear jar funds take up the slack.
Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry is not pleased with the proposal, and claims that if it were enacted, companies would be forced to cut back on their own research into Important Lifesaving Drugs to pay the fines. Of course, one excellent way to avoid that burden would be for them to not do fraudulent billing, just maybe.
Also, too, Yr Wonkette is happy to offer you the chance to show your devotion to Elizabeth Warrenovna, Class Warrior, with our classy new T-shirts in Men's and Women's sizes. A portion of each t-shirt's profits will be used to fight Big Pharma by helping Yr Editrix pay her midwife, probably.
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