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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen November 22, 2021

No, President Biden won’t slap a 95% tax on prescription drugs

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  • President Joe Biden proposed that Medicare would be allowed to negotiate the prices of prescription medications with drug companies. 
  • Biden claimed that by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices it would lower the overall prices on prescription medications for both Medicare beneficiaries and people on private insurance. 
  • Drug companies that do not negotiate on pricing would face up to a 95% excise tax on its sales.

A viral Facebook post claimed that President Joe Biden will impose a 95% tax on prescription drugs as a way to lower health care costs in the United States.

The post was made in late October and features an image of Biden with $100 bills floating in the background.

"Say no to Biden's 95% tax on your prescriptions," the image reads.

A caption with the post goes on to claim that "only in Washington can you promise to 'control healthcare costs' by slapping a 95% tax on prescription drugs."

The account behind the post, the Center for a Free Economy, describes itself as a conservative nonprofit organization that advances "the cause of free market public policy reforms."

We reached out to the organization about its Facebook post but did not immediately hear back. 

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Biden’s plan to lower health costs does not include a 95% tax on prescription drugs. It includes an excise tax on drug companies — not consumers — if they don’t sell drugs at prices that have been negotiated with Medicare.

Health care was one of Biden’s major platforms during the 2020 presidential election where he promised to lower the overall cost of health care in the country.

Biden pledged to lower the cost of prescription drugs by as much as 60% during a Nov. 2, 2020, campaign speech.

Biden then laid out how he’d lower the cost of prescription drugs through the Build Back Better agenda — by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies on pricing.

Negotiations would apply to drugs seniors receive through Medicare Part D and drugs administered in a doctor’s office through Medicare Part B, according to a White House statement.

Biden said this would also lead to lower drug prices for people with private health insurance, not just for Medicare beneficiaries. His plan would require drug companies to sell their products to people on employer-based plans at the same prices as they sell it to someone on Medicare or face a financial penalty.

"It means drug companies would have to sell their drugs to all distributors at the Medicare price or face up to a 95% excise tax," the president said in August.

The tax would be levied directly on a company’s drug sales, not consumers.

The Build Back Better bill was passed in the House on Nov. 19, with the ability for Medicare to negotiate drug prices intact, and is awaiting approval by the Senate.

Our rating

A Facebook post claims Biden would lower health care costs by implementing a 95% tax on prescription drugs.

Biden has proposed a plan that would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of certain prescription medications with drug companies, which he said would lead to lower drug prices for both Medicare beneficiaries and people on private insurance.

If drug companies do not negotiate with Medicare, they could face up to a 95% excise tax, according to his proposal. Prescription drugs would not be taxed.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Oct. 22, 2021

Archive.Today, Oct. 22, 2021 Facebook post

Center for a Free Economy, About Us, accessed Nov. 22, 2021

Biden - Harris Campaign website, Health Care, accessed Nov. 18, 2021

Rev, "Joe Biden Campaign Event Speech Transcript Pittsburgh, PA November 2," Nov. 2, 2020

The White House, President Biden Announces Prescription Drug Pricing Plan in Build Back Better Framework, Nov. 2, 2021

The White House, Remarks by President Biden on How His Build Back Better Agenda Will Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Aug. 12, 2021

The New York Times, "House Narrowly Passes Biden’s Social Safety Net and Climate Bill," Nov. 19, 2021

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No, President Biden won’t slap a 95% tax on prescription drugs

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