Trump administration will require drug companies to disclose prices in TV ads

Coming this summer: drug companies will be required to show prices in television ads.

Image result for drug pricingUnder the new policy, which was announced by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, drug manufacturers will have to state the list price of a 30-day supply of any drug that is covered through Medicare and Medicaid and costs at least $35 a month.

Under the rule, companies will be required to post that information in clear, legible text onscreen at the end of the ad.

Will this actually make a difference? That’s not totally clear. Most experts seem to think the rule isn’t so much about the administration wanting policies that lower drug prices, so much as it is about shaming drug companies that charge thousands of dollars for medicines. Also, most consumers won’t pay the full list price if they have health insurance.

Go boldly: Regardless, the new rule is one of the boldest steps the administration has taken in its efforts to bring transparency to the drug-pricing system. And it puts Trump officials squarely at odds with the drug industry lobby, as well as television and advertising industry groups.

Key quote: “We are telling drug companies today: You’ve got to level with people [about] what your drugs cost,” Azar told reporters. “Put it in the TV ads. Patients have a right to know, and if you’re ashamed of your drug prices, change your drug prices. It’s that simple.”

Who will enforce this? According to Azar, industry will essentially self-regulate, because HHS can’t force companies to follow the rule. If a company doesn’t comply, it will open itself to lawsuits from competitors.

Expect a fight: The drug industry is likely to mount a court fight, arguing the rule violates the First Amendment. But HHS thinks it’s on pretty firm legal ground.

Read more on the rule and what’s ahead here

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