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Trump administration: Drug makers should disclose prices in TV ads

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer

The Trump administration proposed a new rule on Monday that would require drug companies to disclose drug prices in TV ads.

The proposed rule, announced by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would make manufacturers announce the “Wholesale Acquisition Cost” for drugs covered in Medicare or Medicaid in advertisements targeted at consumers.

“This historic proposal is an important way to create new incentives for drug companies to start lowering their list prices, rather than raising them,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stated in a press release.

In this July 10, 2018, file photo bottles of medicine ride on a belt at the Express Scripts mail-in pharmacy warehouse in Florence, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Just hours before, the pharma industry’s largest trade group announced that drugmakers would begin disclosing prices for drugs that are advertised on TV by mentioning a website in the ad where they can be looked up.

The agency said the transparency would serve to provide a “moderating force to counteract price increases,” and also serve to give beneficiaries cost information, which is vital in decision-making.

The proposed rule specifies that a manufacturer would need to disclose costs in a way consumers can understand. For an acute condition, for example, companies would have to say how much a full course costs. For chronic conditions, the rule would require an estimate for a 30-day supply.

The CMS press release also noted that the disclosure would come as a “legible textual statement at the end of the ad” and violators would be shamed via a public list the HHS would keep.

The agency will accept comments until December 17th here and the full text of the rule can be read here.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, retail, personal finance, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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