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Talk about a non-starter.

For months, the White House has promised action on rising drug prices, yet, so far, little has happened. Now, though, the administration is trumpeting a rule to force drug makers to disclose prices in TV ads.


The hope is that companies will be persuaded to compete on price if “relevant information” is provided for any drug that is available under Medicare or Medicaid, if the price is more than $35 a month.

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  • While the convoluted nature of pharma pricing makes the proposal’s absolute and immediate impact limited, it in none the less a sound step. Obviously a political and negotiating tactic for Trump, this has the potential to further and broaden the conversation about the cost, value, and efficacy of drugs and and that can only be a positive going forward.

  • Research on drug development is often heavily underwritten by gov
    and private biz. Only pharma firms set prices from proprietary positions.
    Business is commonly competitive; sales take place and similar products are marketed. Hence the model is business and NOT speech.

  • We are witnessing Kabuki. The administration looks tough, requiring Big Pharma to disclose a price that has no meaning; Big Pharma says no, but in a short while we compromise, showing that patient needs are their concern and that the administration knows the Art of the Deal in handling these heartless companies. Maybe it is better described as smoke and mirrors.

  • Ed Silverman, it sounds like you work for Pharma or a PBM. But if you had no insurance, you pay the full sticker price. There is no rebates or discounts for cash pay patients! Patients and physicians need to know what the retail price of drugs are. I am in favor of published prices.

    • Even with insurance, when there is a high deductible patients will be paying cash for medicine until that amount is met. You can ask a doc if there are rebates/discounts for a drug, and that may happen on occasion. However the concept of “full sticker price” is meaningless because the price for any drug can vary widely between pharmacies even in the same town. You should absolutely call around to all pharmacies in your area and do a cost-comparison because you’ll be shocked at the price differences. That way at least you might see some savings.

  • List prices ARE meaningful. If a drug is $3,000 a month and has a 50% rebate, the member’s copay is based on the full price before rebate. If a member has a 20% coinsurance, she will pay $600 and the health plan keeps the rebate. And, of course, patients without insurance or in the deductible phase will pay the whole $3,000. Advertising drives both useful and wasteful utilization. Also, patients should not be incurring doctor visit expenses to ask about drugs they can’t afford. (Of course, if we had a sensible health insurance system, that would never happen.) I have worked in pharmacy benefits for over 20 years and think the proposed rule really wouldn’t do much good, but the criticisms stated in this article are misguided.

  • These shenanigans should be illegal. The American people already paid for a lot of the research and development of these drugs, while these corporations Ration care. Americans are dying and paying high process for these drugs, and many are not even new drugs, they are just repacked old drugs with extended patents. In Post Truth America, the media does not cover the facts, they could cut into profits, while American die, because they can’t afford healthcare.

  • This is one of Trump’s “deal-making” strategies: try to shame or extort the other party to bend to your will. If you fail, declare bankruptcy (in his private business) or change the subject/create a diversion (in “governing”) and then move on. It “worked” with Pfizer (or so he thinks). Alex Azar should know better, but he’s a shill for Drumpf now. This policy is simply nonsensical and just “for show” for the electorate before the mid-terms.

  • There are a host of flaws with this. The POTUS is completely unaware that many pharma companies don’t even engage in direct to consumer advertising on TV so the rule wouldn’t apply to them.

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