Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Gillibrand Calls For Stiff Fines For Pharmaceutical Price Gouging

July 13, 2018 - 3:01 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Some of the prices of prescription drugs have skyrocketed lately, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) wants pharmaceutical companies to face stiff fines.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, some of the stories are heartbreaking – seniors choosing between tapping into their savings and buying their prescription drugs. Gillibrand said one man had medication that would have cost $5,000 a month, so he decided not to buy it at all.

"And he looked and said, ‘If I spend $5,000 a month on my medication, that means all our savings will be gone in one year,’” Gillibrand said. “He chose not to take his medication because he didn't want his wife to be left with nothing, and of course, he died six months later, or nine months later."

Gillibrand’s bill would fine pharmaceutical companies if they price-gouge consumers. For example, if a company raises the price of a medication by 25 percent, they would have to give 100 percent of the profit to the federal government as a fine.

"Second thing that I want to do is make sure Medicare can negotiate in bulk the way Medicaid and the VA can in order to get low prices,” Gillibrand said, “and the third idea is if you happen to live in New York State and you're not too far from Canada, you can go buy your drugs if you want."