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U.S. TV drug ads to carry information on prices

(Reuters) – TV advertisements for drugs made by major U.S. companies will soon direct patients to information about the potential price of medicines, a pharmaceutical industry lobbying group said here on Monday.

Used blister packets that contained medicines, tablets and pills are seen, in this picture illustration taken June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Boyce/Illustration

The move, which will help consumers find the list prices and out-of-pocket costs for drugs more easily, is aimed at increasing transparency and comes at a time of heightened political scrutiny into drug prices.

The decision, announced by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), also comes months after President Donald Trump unveiled a “blueprint” of proposed policies to give the government more leverage over prices.

The decision is “a small step in the right direction,” U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement, adding that the HHS would continue to implement the blueprint to ensure more transparency.

“The drug industry remains resistant to providing real transparency around their prices, including the sky-high list prices that many patients pay,” he said.

List prices do not reflect the final amount paid by patients as it excludes rebates and discounts drugmakers may offer.

PhRMA, which represents major U.S. companies including Abbvie Inc (ABBV.N), Pfizer and Merck, said all advertising that identifies a medicine by name should include direction relating to where one can find information about its cost, such as a company’s website.

The industry will also launch a new platform that will give patients and providers with cost and financial assistance information for branded medicines, the group said.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma welcomed the move, but called for more steps to ensure that patients have all the information required to learn about a drug.

Reporting by Manogna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar


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