WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released the following statement regarding the omission of a bipartisan amendment he introduced with Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Angus King of Maine in the upcoming appropriations bill to support the Department of Health and Human Services in requiring prescription drug prices in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements.
“Congress should’ve included the measure in the appropriations bill because it’s the right thing to do for consumers. It’s also critical for accountability. Its removal without explanation by conferees is offensive to the public trust, especially given the bipartisan support from senators for this commonsense reform. The good news is that the Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to make this happen. Secretary Azar has spoken clearly about his support for this policy and transparency on behalf of consumers concerning prescription drugs. The Administration has also spoken forcefully about the need to lower the costs of prescription drugs. Giving consumers access to more information about drug costs has to be part of that effort.”
Grassley recently spoke on the Senate floor urging support for the bipartisan amendment.
Last year, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $6 billion in DTC advertisements, which drive up health care costs by steering patients toward more expensive, often unnecessary medications. The average American sees nine DTC prescription drug ads each day. Studies show that patients are more likely to ask their doctor for a specific brand-name medication, and doctors are more likely to prescribe one, when they have been marketed directly with drug advertisements. For these reasons, most countries have banned DTC prescription drug advertising, with the United States and New Zealand being the only two developed countries that allow it. The American Medical Association has called for a ban on DTC prescription drug advertisements, as well as mandatory price disclosure as part of prescription drug marketing.