Consumer groups are praising a proposal by the Trump administration to require drug companies to put prices in many of their TV ads, but some worry it’s only a pre-election perk designed to attract voters, one that could be dropped after the midterm election Nov. 6.
The rule, announced by federal health regulators, would apply to drugs offered through Medicare or Medicaid that cost more than $35 per month, or for a course of treatment. Frederick Isasi, executive director of the advocacy group Families USA, says if finalized, the rule could show people the real cost of some well-known prescription drugs.
The plan is opposed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The trade group instead has proposed putting up a website in the spring that discloses drug prices and co-pays.
Isasi says he’d like to see the administration actually negotiate lower prices for consumers rather than hoping transparency will shame drug makers into charging less. Isasi adds that high drug prices affect everyone, even those who don’t take any medications.
According to the health care research group Quintiles IMS Institute, Americans spent $450 billion on prescription drugs in 2016 before rebates.
If the administration finalizes the rule, pharmaceutical trade groups say they won’t rule out litigation.