Prescription Drugs’ Directions: Disclose prices on TV ads every 24 hours

 Recently, prescription drugs and Pharma companies have been under scrutiny by the Trump administration. The administration is proposing a new federal regulation requiring drug companies to share the list prices of prescription drugs in their TV ads.

What does this mean?

This proposal requires prescription drug companies to share price information at the end of each TV ad. The statement would have to appear on the screen long enough, in large enough font, making it easy to read.

The primary enforcement would be the threat of lawsuits under a 1946 law, Lanham Act, for unfair competition in the form of false or misleading advertising.

The proposed requirement only applies to television commercials. The listing price requirement would not apply to advertising in magazines, newspapers, websites, or social media.

The public will have two months to comment on the proposal. The government will then consider the comments before making a final decision on prescription drug companies.

Trump vs. Rx

The pharmaceutical industry claims that this requirement would be a form of “compelled speech” in violation of the First Amendment.

Alex M Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human services, said patients deserve to know the price of a drug as they are being informed of the benefits and risks.

Due to this, PhARMA members will voluntarily include information in TV ads directing viewers to company websites. On the sites, patients could find data on list prices and estimates of the typical out of pocket costs for patients.

Mr. Azar said that was “a small step in the right direction” but not enough.

Who’s looking out for the consumer?

Stephen J. Ubl, president of PhARMA, said that the disclosure of list prices would be confusing, misleading and isn’t what patients want or need.

The goal of the president is to bring “price transparency” to the market. This is designed to stimulate competition and overturn the current system in which everyone but the consumer benefits from higher prices.

Drug companies say that the disclosure of list prices, could discourage patients from considering helpful medicines due to high prices.

Most importantly, disclosing prescription drug prices does not mean that prices will go down; therefore, what is the  gain for the consumer?