We agree patients should have more transparency about medicine costs. That is why our member companies have taken a new approach to direct-to-consumer television advertising and began voluntarily directing patients to links to comprehensive cost information in their DTC television advertising.
It is also why we partnered with consumer, patient, pharmacist and provider groups to launch a new platform called the Medicine Assistance Tool at MAT.org. This tool links to the websites referenced in company DTC television advertising and includes a search tool to help patients connect to financial assistance programs.
Our efforts are in stark contrast to the administration’s rule requiring the disclosure of list prices in DTC television advertising. Its approach would potentially confuse patients who might be misled into believing the list price is the price they would pay and would potentially deter them from seeking needed medical care.
The rule also ignores the First Amendment, gives short shrift to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s role as arbiter of whether DTC advertising is truthful and nonmisleading, and relies on an interpretation of the Medicare statute that stretches credulity.
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After speaking with patients across the country to learn what information about medicine costs would be most helpful to them, we learned that patients prefer our approach. Americans expressed their need for more information and transparency, and a desire to know how much a medicine will actually cost them at the pharmacy counter and what help is available for affording their medicines. In fact, polling showed that Americans strongly support the approach voluntarily taken by PhRMA member companies, preferring it by a 3-to-1 margin (61 percent to 23 percent) to the government’s approach.
We support providing more transparency on medicine costs. This is why we’ve taken these voluntary actions to give patients a more complete picture.
Stephen J. Ubl is president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
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