By Cathleen Calhoun, J.D.
Consumers will soon know the prices of prescription drugs advertised on TV, but will that knowledge impact costs and spending?
The list price of prescription drugs will soon be included in all broadcast, cable, satellite, and streaming TV ads because a final rule has created the requirement. Effective July 9, 2019, the inclusion of the list price of prescription drugs and biological products on direct-to-consumer (DTC) television advertisements, if payment for them is available through Medicare or Medicaid, will be required if the price is equal to or greater than $35 for a month's supply, or the usual course of therapy. According to HHS, 47 percent of Americans have high-deductible health insurance plans, so they often pay the list price until they have met their deductible. Also, more and more Part D plans that are offered have a deductible (Final rule, 84 FR 20732, May 10, 2019).
Reasons for the rule. HHS notes the final rule will help reduce drug prices because (1) manufacturers will have an incentive to reduce their list prices by exposing overly costly drugs to public scrutiny and (2) consumers will have more information to better position them as active and well-informed participants in their health care decision-making. In addition, the final rule will foster competition through increased transparency.
Requirements. The television advertisements must be:
- A text statement—giving the current list price for a typical 30-day regimen or for a typical course of treatment.
- Presented at the end of an advertisement.
- Easily read—placed appropriately, against a contrasting background, for enough time, and in a size and style of font that allows the information to be read easily.
Specifically, the advertisement should read: “The list price for a [30- day supply of] [typical course of treatment with] [name of prescription drug or biological product] is [insert list price]. If you have health insurance that covers drugs, your cost may be different.”
Compliance. The final rule addresses two specific compliance issues. First, a public list will be created that will include the prescription drugs and biological products identified by HHS to be advertised in violation of the final rule. Second, a state (or political subdivision) cannot create or continue any requirement about disclosing, in a television advertisement, the pricing of a prescription drug or biological product that is different from, or in addition to, any requirement imposed by the final rule.
MainStory: TopStory FinalRules AgencyNews FDCActNews DrugBiologicNews MedicaidNews PartANews PartBNews PartCNews PartDNews PrescriptionDrugNews
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