Trump Proposes Rule Requiring Pharma To Include Prices In Ads, Setting Up Possible First Amendment Legal Battle
The rule, which is part of President Donald Trump's blueprint to rein in high drug costs, sparked immediate push back from pharmaceutical companies. Beyond the industry, experts are skeptical that the regulation would do anything to bring down prices and may confuse patients because consumers often don't pay the list price for medications.
The New York Times:
Trump Rule Would Compel Drug Makers To Disclose Prices In TV Commercials
Over vehement objections by drug companies, the Trump administration proposed on Monday a new federal regulation that would require them to disclose the list prices of prescription drugs in their television advertisements. The proposal sets the stage for a battle with the pharmaceutical industry, which said the requirement would be a form of “compelled speech” in violation of the First Amendment. (Pear, 10/15)
The Associated Press:
US Wants Drug Prices In TV Ads: 'Patients Deserve To Know'
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar unveiled a proposal that would apply to all brand-name drugs covered by the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which is most medicines. "Patients deserve to know what a given drug could cost when they're being told about the benefits and risks it may have," Azar said in prepared remarks. "They deserve to know if the drug company has pushed their prices to abusive levels. And they deserve to know this every time they see a drug advertised to them on TV." (10/15)
The Washington Post:
Drugmakers May Have To Disclose Prices Of Medicine In Television Ads
While some health policy researchers are skeptical that disclosing drug prices in television ads would change consumer behavior and doctors’ prescribing habits, the proposal drew immediate praise from unlikely bedfellows. Health insurers’ main trade group commended the administration “for taking such bold action” to combat “out-of-control” drug prices. The American Medical Association lamented the existence of direct consumer advertising of medicine but said in a statement that “as long as the practice is allowed, the ads should come with at least a small dose of transparency.” (Goldstein and Johnson, 10/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
Pharma Industry Pushes Back Against Required Listing Of Drug Prices In TV Ads
Drugmakers oppose the mandate, saying that providing only the list price would confuse and mislead consumers, who may think they have to pay more than they actually would. The list price is the figure initially set by the drugmaker. But it is different than what consumers generally pay, because it doesn’t take into account rebates, discounts and insurance payments. Critics also say the rule runs afoul of the First Amendment free-speech protections, and that a legal challenge is likely. (Armour, 10/15)
Trump Issues Rule To Require Drug Prices In TV Ads, Rejecting Industry Plan
HHS said its proposed rule fulfilled another prong of the president's blueprint to address pharmaceutical costs and would help Americans make more informed decisions that could lower out-of-pocket costs and those of government health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The move came with polls showing significant voter outrage about drug costs, which also are comprising an ever larger share of the federal budget. (Karlin-Smith, 10/15)
TV Ads Must Trumpet Drug Prices, Trump Administration Says. Pharma Tries A Plan B.
A drug’s list price — the metric HHS wants to emphasize — often bears little relationship to what a patient pays at the drugstore. Insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers often negotiate cheaper prices than the list price. Some patients qualify for other discounts. And often patients pay only what their copay or deductible requires at any given time. (Luthra and Tribble, 10/15)
Questions Loom As Pharma Hints At Suing Over New Trump Drug Pricing Policy
Even before it was announced, drug makers threatened to sue the Trump administration over a new policy that would require them to include prices in their TV ads. Now that the proposal is official, the better question about a lawsuit may be “When?” Already on Monday, drug makers doubled down on their argument that the government is violating their First Amendment rights by compelling them to disclosure their prices. (Florko, 10/16)