The candidates are falling into two primary categories – those that show their stuff with detailed, well-thought out plans that present goals, challenges and details, and those who have a few bullet points or paragraphs that outline a promise. Dennis Kucinich falls into the latter category.
He may well indeed have a healthcare plan, but if he does, he is keeping it a secret from his campaign site. At least the details. His primary goal appears to be universal, single payer healthcare for all, a program under which, all prescription drugs would be provided free of charge through a Medicare for All program. He states he is the only candidate offering single payer.
In looking at our domains, there is little on his Web site to tell us where he would stand, though given the above goal, you may be able to make an educated guess. Where possible, I have applied some statements from the past that may shed further light on his feelings in a certain domain, even if his site does not tell us.
- Importation of Drugs – Voted in favor of the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003 which would have permitted the importation of drugs from certain countries.
- Medicare Part D Reform – He has voted in favor of requiring Medicare Part D negotiation of drug prices.
- Pharmaceutical Marketing Restrictions – Nothing found, but highly like to favor – see analysis.
- Follow-on-Biologic Regulation – Nothing specific found, but he is not in favor of patent protections that are a concern in the debate on FOB regulatory pathways. As stated on his congressional Web site – "The main reason that drugs are costly is that the government grants manufacturers patent monopolies, prohibiting normal market competition for long periods of time. "
- Generic Promotion – He spoke out against the US-Morocco free trade agreement saying that it was bad for America because “The agreement prohibits the importation of lower cost pharmaceuticals, and delays the availability of lower cost generic drugs by creating new patent-like protections for drug regulatory data. Together, these measures will maintain high prescription drug prices in the US. " And, also from his Congressional Web site about the Free Market Drug Act – On September 29, 2004, Congressman Kucinich introduced H.R. 5155, the Free Market Drug Act, which would effectively result in most major drugs being priced as generics by removing patent protection on pharmaceuticals produced with public funds. The bill would fund the world-renowned National Institutes of Health (NIH) to perform or control the research and development(R&D) on pharmaceuticals in the US. Some funds would be used to expand NIH’s capacity to do R&D and other funds would be granted to pharmaceutical companies and universities who already have the infrastructure to do that research. But whenever a drug developed with public funds was ready to be marketed, any qualified entity able to get FDA approval would be able to manufacture and distribute it. This introduces free market competition and consumers could expect much lower prices as a result.
Analysis: From his congressional Web site, there is the following statement – In December 2002, Congressman Kucinich asked President Bush to establish a Federal Pricing Commission on Prescription Drugs after an analysis of more than 5,000 hospitals nationwide by the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy (IHSP) hospitals revealed that hospitals increase the price of medication by an average of 340 percent. The Pricing Commission would be a federal commission charged with the gathering and reporting of pharmaceutical costs and charges in health facilities. “Drugs are driving up the cost of health care overall, and we must find which facilities are charging the most, and how this is impacting the rest of the health care system,” stated Congressman Kucinich. While his healthcare plan would do away with insurance companies entirely, it is also likely that he would seek to cap prices on pharmaceutical products by whatever means possible, including a regulatory pathway for follow-on-biologics that would probably not be sympathetic to industry concerns on intellectual property and would likely, I think, seek marketing restrictions that would bring down the cost of DTC. In fact, since all drugs would be free under his healthcare plan, the need for DTC may be cast into some doubt.