More on Pharmacy

AHIP supports requirement for drug companies to put prices in consumer ads

The amendment would give funding to the Department of Health and Human Services to require drug pricing in direct-to-consumer advertising.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

America's Health Insurance Plans is supporting an amendment to an appropriations bill that would require pharmaceutical companies to put drug pricing information in their ads to consumers.

AHIP CEO and President Matt Eyles sent a letter of support Tuesday to Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley, who filed the amendment Monday night to the final version of the Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Act for 2019, or HR 6157.

If passed, the amendment would provide funding to enable the Department of Health and Human Services to require disclosure of drug pricing information in direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs.

Senator Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, and Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, first introduced the proposal in May as part of the Trump Administration's drug-pricing blueprint to decrease prescription prices.

In a statement on the success of the blueprint 100 days in, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said drug companies are complying, "skating to where they know the puck is going" on drug price transformation, he said.

In the letter, Eyles told the Senators that AHIP supports their price transparency effort as part of the broader strategy to put downward pressure on prescription drug prices. 

The entire pricing process is driven by the original list price of a branded drug -- which is determined solely by the drug company, not by the market or any other participant in the pharmaceutical supply chain, Eyles said.

Providing consumers with information on list prices is a crucial step toward greater transparency and accountability about the true cost to the system, he said. 

"Bold steps are needed, at both the legislative and regulatory levels, to ensure that people have access to affordable medications. With solutions that deliver real competition, create more consumer choice, and ensure open and honest drug prices, we can deliver more affordable pharmaceutical products while at the same time protecting and supporting innovations to deliver new treatments and cures for patients," Eyles said in the letter.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: