By Agence France-Presse
The US administration announced Monday a new proposal to require drugmakers to list prices of medicines that cost more than $35 per month in television ads.
The proposal, unveiled by US Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar II, aims to add information on prices to television spots, which typically contain extensive warnings about a medicine’s side effects, but not on price.
Azar said the policy seeks to address a pricing system that is “completely opaque” to consumers.
“List prices matter to American patients,” he said in a speech at the National Academy of Medicine. “I’ve heard it personally from patients myself, and so has the President.”
High drug costs have been an ongoing issue in recent years following sudden price increases imposed for some treatments and confusion over how prices are set, with drug companies, insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers often pointing fingers at one another.
Shortly before Azar’s speech, the trade group the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) announced plans for television ads that will direct patients to platforms with more information about drug prices, including the expected out-of-pocket costs and options for financial assistance.
The trade group has argued that requiring list prices on ads could confuse patients and perhaps discourage some from seeking needed treatment.
“The (Donald Trump) Administration and Congress have called on our industry to provide cost information in direct-to-consumer advertisements, and our members are voluntarily stepping up to the plate,” said Stephen Ubl, chief executive of PhRMA.