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A Trump administration proposal to require drug makers to advertise prices in television ads could dissuade consumers from considering pricey medicines, according to a new study. But this reaction was mitigated when ads mentioned some patients may be able to receive the treatment for nothing, which is language that drug makers are pushing to include in the White House scheme.

The researchers showed five different ads to 580 people about a fictitious diabetes drug. One ad did not mention price, another indicated the drug cost $50 a month, and still another cited $15,500 a month. Two other ads also mentioned each price, respectively, but added a line that “eligible patients” may be able to get the drug for as little as $0 a month, according to the study in JAMA Internal Medicine.


For the ad with the higher price, the disclosure significantly reduced the likelihood that consumers would ask their doctor or insurer about the drug, conduct online research, or take the medicine, which is the effect sought by the Trump administration. But these reactions were significantly mitigated when language was included about the possibility of getting the drug, called Mayzerium, for nothing.

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