WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has been a long proponent of transparency in the federal government, specifically in the area of prescription drug pricing.
The Senate recently passed a bipartisan amendment introduced by Grassley and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois clarifying that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) use funds provided by Congress to implement rules requiring pharmaceutical companies to list prices of their prescription drugs in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements. The legislation was passed as part of the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education appropriations package.
“The passage of this amendment is an important step forward for transparency in drug pricing and a victory for the American people. It will empower health care consumers to make informed decisions about their prescriptions and spur competition, resulting in lower prescription drug costs.”
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. This happens even when a less expensive alternative is available.
This amendment is the latest in Grassley’s ongoing effort to increase transparency in the health care system and to lower prescription drug costs.
Earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bipartisan Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, legislation cosponsored by Grassley which would combat anticompetitive practices used by some brand-name pharmaceutical and biologic companies to block lower-cost generic drugs from entering the market.
Grassley also is a lead cosponsor of the bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, which would crack down on anti-competitive agreements between branded and generic companies to postpone entry of generic drugs in the marketplace. These pay-off settlements delay consumer access to generic drugs, which can be as much as 90 percent cheaper than brand-name drugs. The legislation would stop these anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market and make sure consumers have access to the cost saving generics they need.