While criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden’s health care plan, California Sen. Kamala Harris said, “Let's talk about the fact that the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies last year alone profited $72 billion, and that is on the backs of American families.”
Facts First: Harris was in fact understating the profits of these industries. Ten of the largest US-based drug companies alone made $69 billion in profits last year. Health insurance companies made $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.