Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts known for sticking up for consumers in the face of corporate interests, has recently turned her focus on the pharmaceutical industry. Noting that a substantial number of pharma companies have paid multi-billion dollar settlements, Senator Warren has introduced a bill called the Medical Innovation Act, which would require pharma companies to pay into a medical research fund any time they settle a fraud-related scheme.
Warren notes that companies that have successfully produced blockbuster drugs have often realized these profits on the basis of research initially funded by the federal government. It’s only fair then, she proposes, that when these manufacturers violate the rules in pursuit of greater profits, they pay into a fund that goes back into the research mechanisms that made them rich in the first instance.
“It’s like a swear jar,” Warren colorfully notes. “Whenever a huge drug company that is generating enormous profits as a result of federal research investments gets caught breaking the law and wants off the hook, it has to put some money in the jar to help fund the next generation of medical research,” Warren said. “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.”