U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois today issued the following statement following an announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the issuance of final regulations requiring pharmaceutical companies to list prices of their prescription drugs in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements:
“Direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements are everywhere, and they tell you just about everything imaginable about the drug, other than its price,” the senators said. “We believe American patients deserve transparency. When drug manufacturers flood the airwaves with these ads, our legislation – which passed in the Senate last year – would require commonsense price disclosure. We applaud HHS for taking this important step to help Americans struggling with skyrocketing drug costs. We will continue our legislative work to see this rule implemented.”
In August 2018, a Grassley-Durbin measure to support mandatory price disclosures in DTC ads passed the Senate as part of the Labor-HHS-Education/Defense appropriations “minibus” funding bill.
Last year, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $6 billion in DTC advertisements, which drive up health care costs by steering patients towards more expensive, often unnecessary medications. The average American sees nine DTC prescription drug ads each day. Studies show that patients are more likely to ask their doctor for a specific brand-name medication, and doctors are more likely to prescribe one, when they have been marketed directly with drug advertisement.