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Democratic candidates debate in Ohio

運営事務局 JIMOPLE 63 October 16, 2019
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

Sen. Kamala Harris resurfaced a previous claim that the eight biggest pharmaceutical and insurance companies alone made $72 billion in profits last year while Americans continue to suffer under the opioid crisis.  

“The eight biggest pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies last year profited $72 billion on the backs of people like the families that we are talking about that have been overwhelmed by this crisis, which is a public health epidemic,” said Harris. “And they knew what they were doing.”  

It’s not the first time that Harris has made the argument. She lodged the complaint back in July while criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden’s health care plan.

Facts First: While it was not clear which companies are part of Harris’ tally, she’s likely in the ballpark, at least according to profit data available for US drug companies as well as numbers on health insurance company profits from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. However, some context is needed as these profits aren’t derived solely from opioids or from the US market alone. 

Ten of the largest US-based drug companies made $69 billion in profits last year. The health insurance industry made a total of $23 billion

The profits of the top US drug companies were as follows: Johnson & Johnson ($15.3 billion), Pfizer ($11.2 billion), Amgen ($8.4 billion), Merck ($6.2 billion), AbbVie ($5.7 billion), Gilead ($5.5 billion), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($5 billion), Biogen ($4.4 billion), Celgene ($4 billion), Eli Lilly ($3.2 billion).  

Not all of these profits came from the companies’ operations in the United States.  

A report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the health insurance industry generated net earnings of $23.4 billion in 2018.