Pharma: Disclosing drug prices on TV
The Trump administration proposed new federal rules this week that would require pharmaceutical companies to list drug prices in their TV ads, said Robert Pear in The New York Times. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar compared the proposal, which would apply to any medication with a wholesale price of more than $35 for a month’s supply, “to long-standing requirements for automakers to disclose sticker prices.” Patients, Azar said, “deserve to know if the drug company has pushed its prices to abusive levels.” The 10 most commonly advertised drugs have list prices ranging from $535 to $11,000 a month.
The pharmaceutical industry, which spent $4.2 billion on TV ads last year, is now gearing up for battle, said Sarah Karlin-Smith in Politico.com. It argues that prices could mislead consumers, since most have insurance that lowers a drug’s cost, and “discourage patients from seeking needed care.” The drug lobby PhRMA said it is likely to launch a First Amendment challenge to the rules, arguing that the government can’t compel companies to speak. Public opinion may be on the side of regulation: A poll found 63 percent favor requiring drug advertisements to include pricing information. Still, only 28 percent believe that would actually bring down costs. ■