Drug manufacturers will have to state the list price of a 30-day supply of any drug that is covered through Medicare and Medicaid and costs at least $35 a month. “American patients deserve to know the prices of the healthcare they receive,” said in a statement Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. According to HHS, the 10 most commonly advertised drugs have list prices ranging from $488 to $16,938 per month for a usual course of therapy. The American President has made lowering drug prices a priority of his administration. Combined with other administration efforts, manufacturers will be pressured to keep prices lower, Azar told reporters Wednesday.
Drug companies have insisted that the rule will confuse consumers, because a drug’s list price is often lower than what the patient will actually pay. The new rule takes effect in 60 days. The information should appear in text large enough for most people to read and include a statement that patients with health insurance may pay a different sum. The drug industry spent more than $5.5 billion on advertising in 2017, including nearly $4.2 billion on television ads. The health insurance lobby, AHIP, said the rule would “shed some light on the black box” of drug pricing and “better empower” patients to make health decisions.