WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Dick Durbin of Illinois, along with Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Angus King of Maine, today introduced bipartisan legislation to codify recent regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to require pharmaceutical companies to list prices of their prescription drugs in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements. Today’s legislation ensures long-term implementation and clarity of this common-sense price transparency requirement, and builds off Grassley and Durbin’s bipartisan legislative efforts over the past two years.
“Knowing what something costs before buying it is just common sense,” Grassley said. “Including the list price of prescription drugs on TV advertisements is a no-nonsense way to empower health care consumers and make informed decisions about their care. It also spurs competition, which leads to lower prescription drug costs.”
“In 2018, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $6 billion to flood the airwaves with drug advertisements, which drive up health care costs by steering patients towards more expensive, often unnecessary medications. They bombard us with information about the drug, but keep patients in the dark about the crucial factor: price,” Durbin said. “Patients deserve transparency, and I am pleased to introduce this bill with Senator Grassley to codify and ensure long-term implementation of HHS’ recent rule.”
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 advertisement.
Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan amendment introduced by Grassley and Durbin to the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education appropriations “minibus” package that provides HHS with $1 million to implement rules requiring pharmaceutical companies to list prices of their prescription drugs in DTC advertisements. The amendment aimed to help empower patients, promote transparency and lower prescription drug costs. Ultimately, the amendment was stripped from the bill during the House-Senate conference process.
The legislation has been endorsed by AARP, American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing.