WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced new rules on Wednesday that will require drug companies to advertise the prices of drugs on television.
The Trump Administration said patients deserve to know the price of health care.
“Drug companies, you have to level with the American people and tell them what the drug you’re pitching actually costs,” said Azar.
Secretary Azar said under the new rule, television ads for prescription pharmaceuticals covered by Medicare or Medicaid must include how much they cost if the prescribed dosage costs $35 or more.
During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Senator Dick Durbin said current drug prices are out of control.
“Do you have any idea what Humira costs a month? $5,500 a month for that little patch,” said Sen. Durbin.
Drug companies are already required to list the major side effects of a drug. But until now, they didn’t have to list the impact on a patient’s wallet. Azar said the TV ads will help improve transparency.
“If it’s a $50 drug or a $5,000 drug, now you are going to be able to have an informed conversation with your doctor about that drug or other affordable options,” Azar said.
Congressman John Katko, (R) New York, said the changes could also boost competition and help to bring down out-of-pocket costs.
“I’m all for anything that would put downward pressure on the cost of prescription drugs.” Katko said.
Supporters said the rule would also increase accountablility.
“If you don’t have the proper disclosure, you’ll be sued for having a deceptive trade practice,” Azar said.
The rule takes effect this week and consumers could start seeing prescription drug prices on their television screens in a few weeks.