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Trump Administration Wants Drug Companies to Include Prices in Ads

Did you know that the Trump administration has proposed requiring drug companies to include drug prices in their commercials? This comes as part of the effort to reduce drug pricing and overall government drug spending. According to The Hill, The proposed rule has the TV and advertising industries up in arms.

TV industry fights back 

The television industry is worried that this will take away a huge source of revenue from them. Drug companies spend around $6 billion per year advertising on television.

Due to different insurance and other factors, each patient will pay a different price for any drug. This is where the issue gets confusing.

Big U.S. drug lobbying group the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and national TV and advertising groups are arguing against the rule, stating that:

  • The rule would confuse consumers, as the list price of the drug is not exactly what a patient will pay.
  • Listing prices would mislead consumers and violate the First Amendment.
  • The rule could deter people from going to a doctor to get the drugs they need.
  • It is unfair that the same rule that applied to TV ads would not apply to print, social media, and web ads.

PhRMA has also enforced new guidelines of their own, in which voiceovers would tell consumers to visit the drug company’s website for pricing specifics.

Trump administration forges ahead

Still, the Trump administration pushes forward with lots of support from both sides of the aisle. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argues that drug companies spend billions each year to advertise and convince patients to use a brand of drug when in fact a generic version or another treatment would work better. In addition, drug ads could encourage patients to seek out a drug that they don’t even need for an ailment they don’t have.

Drug spending on advertising hugely inflates the amount spent by Medicare and Medicaid, which in 2017 spent $24 billion on the top 20 most-advertised drugs on TV.

The new rule was proposed in October, and could be approved soon. Television industry groups will most likely take their cases to court.

Some companies have already complied with the rule; Johnson & Johnson released a commercial that lists the price of the blood thinner Xarelto at $448 per month.

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