Industry and regulators spar over disclosing list prices in TV ads

Oct. 15, 2018

The industry’s top lobbying group announced a plan to direct patients online to find list prices for drugs in TV ads. But the move received a lukewarm response from regulators who say it might not be enough to meet growing demands for transparency.  

On Monday, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said that under the new proposal, any ads that identify a drug by name will also include information about where patients can locate the list price. PhRMA also intends to create a platform that will provide financial assistance information to patients and providers. 

The plan stopped short of requiring companies to directly disclose the list price in ads, which sources told Bloombergwill likely be part of a proposal given by the Department of Health and Human Services this week.  

“The drug industry remains resistant to providing real transparency around their prices, including the sky-high list prices that many patients pay,” the U.S. health secretary, Alex Azar, said.

PhRMA’s chief executive officer, Steve Ubl, argued that naming list prices would be “confusing” to patients, since insurance and financial assistance programs generally cover parts of the cost. The group also indicated that it will fight regulatory measures aimed at disclosing list prices in TV ads, saying that restrictions on “compelled speech” could violate the First Amendment. 

Read the full Bloomberg report.