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Under pressure, drugmakers give an inch on DTC drug ads | BioPharma Dive

Dive Insight:
In adopting new voluntary principles, PhRMA is making a concession to calls from the White House and lawmakers to be more upfront with drug prices. But its cooperation only goes so far, as the trade group will continue to resist placing prices in ads directly.

“Our industry is taking a new approach to how we communicate about our medicines, making it easier for patients to access information about their medicine cost,” said Ubl on Monday’s call.

While Ubl described the new principles as a major shift, it may not placate a White House that has made this issue a central part of its drug pricing blueprint.

“Our vision for a new, more transparent drug-pricing system does not rely on voluntary action,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, in an emailed statement that came out shortly after the new program was announced.

“So while the pharmaceutical industry’s action today is a small step in the right direction, we will go further and continue to implement the President’s blueprint to deliver new transparency and put American patients first,” he added.

Azar is scheduled to give a major speech on the Trump administration’s efforts around prescription drug costs later today. Reports have indicated it could address requiring list prices in drug advertisements.

A proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services entitled ” Regulation to Require Drug Pricing Transparency” — that some have speculated could be a vehicle for such a regulation — has been under review at the Office of Management and Budget for about two months.

If the Trump administration were to mandate inclusion of list prices in drug ads, it would likely invite a legal challenge. PhRMA has indicated through comments filed in response to the president’s drug pricing blueprint that a requirement could trigger First Amendment legal issues.

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Under pressure, drugmakers give an inch on DTC drug ads | BioPharma Dive.