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Harris Campaign Press Release - Eight South Carolina Leaders Endorse Kamala Harris As She Unveils "People Over Profit" Pharmaceutical Plan

July 16, 2019

Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber, Former Florence City Councilman Billy D. Williams and Six More South Carolina Leaders Endorse Harris

Today, Kamala Harris received the endorsement of several South Carolina leaders as she unveils her new "People Over Profit" pharmaceutical plan.  Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber, Former Florence City Councilman Billy D. Williams, Marion Councilwoman Tassie Lewis, Marion County NAACP President Reverend Marvin Hemingway, Marion County NAACP Education Chair George Gause, Georgetown Planning Commission Code Enforcer Tracy Gibson, Rev. Dr. Calvin Robinson, Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church and Pastor of Greater Christ Temple Ministries in Marion, Dr. Bennie T. Davis all announced their support following Harris' ninth trip to South Carolina. Harris is the only Democratic candidate to have campaigned in the Pee-Dee and Grand Strand where she has now twice been met with unprecedented enthusiasm. Most recently, she held a town hall in the region that attracted more than 1,200 excited Democrats.

Harris's new plan to crack down on big pharma will dramatically reduce out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, which right now average $1,200 annually for Americans, by allowing the federal government to establish fair prices for what companies can charge for drugs and forcing rebates to consumers for any profits earned from selling drugs above the fair price.

The plan would:

  • Stop pharmaceutical companies from price-gouging patients by setting a fair price for what they can charge for prescription drugs;
  • Tax any pharmaceutical company profits made from selling a drug above the fair price at a rate of 100 percent, with the funds directly rebated to consumers;
  • End the pharmaceutical company tax loophole for direct-to-consumer advertising expenses which taxpayers currently subsidize at an estimated cost of $6 billion a year, and use those proceeds to boost NIH funding for new treatments; and,
  • Take executive action, if Congress refuses to act, to investigate all major prescription drugs whose pharmaceutical companies are price-gouging patients, import lower-cost alternatives from abroad, prioritize investigating predatory pharmaceutical companies at the Justice Department, and license patents for high-priced drugs for the most egregious offenders.

Mayor Brendon Barber is the first Black mayor of Georgetown, South Carolina. He comes from a family of educators, most notably his mother, Camille Barber, who was a schoolteacher for 47 years in Georgetown.

"I'm proud to endorse Kamala Harris for President," said Barber. "She visited the Pee-Dee region very early in her campaign because she wanted to hear from working people and address their concerns at a human level. I support Kamala Harris because she is determined to bring down the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, increase teachers' pay, expand homeownership, and bring the country together as a united front."

Billy D. Williams, former Florence City councilman who was instrumental in revitalizing the downtown Florence community, is Vice President of the Florence Community Development Agency, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Pee Dee Healthy Start, Inc., former Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Florence and former Chairman of the Florence County Democratic Party.

"Kamala Harris has put forward an agenda that speaks directly to the concerns that keep South Carolinians up at night," said Williams. "Her new plan to lower pharmaceutical drug costs showcases her courageous commitment to taking action at a time when too many of our lawmakers remain complacent in Washington. I've spent my life in Florence fighting for everyday people and I am certain that as President, Kamala will refocus the priorities of our federal government on working families."

"As President, I will not stand idly by as Americans pay thousands of dollars for prescription drugs while big pharmaceutical companies rake in massive profits. This plan puts people over profit by forcing these companies to reduce prices for consumers and holding them accountable when they gouge Americans," said Harris. "I'm excited to have the support of South Carolina leaders who are committed to taking on Big Pharma and fighting for the interests of working people."

Fighting to protect seniors and consumers from predatory or illegal pharmaceutical company practices has been a hallmark of Harris' career. As California Attorney General, she secured more than $230 million for Californians through settlements with pharmaceutical companies over their deceptive and dangerous practices -- including $46 million from GlaxoSmithKline for illegal marketing and drug pricing, $52 million from Abbott Laboratories and $89 million from Johnson & Johnson for unlawful marketing practices, and $23 million from McKesson for inflating drug prices, among others. She took on companies for illegally marketing to dementia patients and substandard manufacturing on a drug for cancer patients, and she sponsored legislation to boost California's prescription drug monitoring program. As a Senator, she has taken on drugmakers for marketing practices for drugs used to treat opioid addiction and sponsored legislation to prevent drug price increases. 

Harris has previously been endorsed by I.S. Leevy Johnson, Bakari Sellers, Senator Darrell Jackson, Senator John Scott, Representative Rosalyn Henderson-Myers, Former Representative Brenda Lee Pryce, Representative JA Moore, Representative Pat Henegen, Former Councilwoman Bernice Scott, Councilwoman Erica Brown, former gubernatorial candidate Marguerite Willis, former Democratic nominee for Attorney General Constance Anastopoulo, Berkeley County Democratic Chair Melissa Watson, and Emerge South Carolina co-founder Susan Riordan. Harris has also been endorsed by the Reckoning Crew, a group of predominantly African-American women activists who have been organizing in South Carolina for almost thirty years.

Kamala Harris, Harris Campaign Press Release - Eight South Carolina Leaders Endorse Kamala Harris As She Unveils "People Over Profit" Pharmaceutical Plan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/365397

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