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Drugmakers may have to disclose prices of medicine in television ads | The Washington Post

The nation’s top health official proposed on Monday that pharmaceutical companies be required to include the list price of medicines in television advertisements to consumers — the boldest in a series of efforts by the Trump administration to curb rampant drug spending.

Under a major change laid out by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and drafted as a new federal rule, drug manufacturers would need to disclose in ads the list price of a 30-day supply of any drug that is covered through Medicare and Medicaid and costs more than $35 a month.

“Sometimes it takes government to make the first move, to disrupt a broken system, and to lay down new rules of the road,” Azar, typically an advocate of market-based approaches, said in a speech Monday before the National Academy of Medicine.

The proposal intensifies a tug of war between the pharmaceutical industry and an HHS secretary who emerged from its ranks and has striven to dispel any perception of alignment with his former drugmaker colleagues. The draft rule will now be debated through the fall, and its likelihood of becoming an actual requirement will hinge, in large part, on the intensity of the industry’s resistance.

While some health policy researchers are skeptical that disclosing drug prices in television ads would change consumer behavior and doctors’ prescribing habits, the proposal drew immediate praise from unlikely bedfellows.

Health insurers’ main trade group commended the administration “for taking such bold action” to combat “out-of-control” drug prices. The American Medical Association lamented the existence of direct consumer advertising of medicine but said in a statement that “as long as the practice is allowed, the ads should come with at least a small dose of transparency.”

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Drugmakers may have to disclose prices of medicine in television ads – The Washington Post.