Drugmakers will add price data to ads, but not as much as Trump wants

Major drugmakers will soon include price information in television advertisements, conceding to the Trump administration but not as far as the administration may have hoped.

Starting April 15, 2019, members of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group will start telling consumers where they can go to find information about costs. These websites are expected to include the list price, as well as estimates for how much consumers are likely to pay with insurance.

It’s unclear how explicit this information will be. Pharmaceutical ads are already flooded with caveats about side effects.

The announcement comes just hours before Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is expected to introduce a proposal that would require drugmakers to include the list price in their direct-to-consumer advertisements. This is a key piece of President Donald Trump‘s blueprint to lower drug prices, which the administration unveiled in May.

PhRMA opposes this because it says advertising only the list price can mislead consumers and possibly dissuade them from taking potentially life-saving medicines. A drug’s list price is usually the starting point where pharmacy benefit managers and insurers then negotiate down from. Few patients pay this price.

“We think our approach — providing list price in context — is what patients want and need so they can take action upon information,” PhRMA President Stephen Ubl said Monday on a call with reporters. “So we think our approach is the better way.”

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