Drug prices on TV? Stay tuned for the sticker shock - (The New York Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The US government is moving ahead with its proposal to require drug companies to disclose the prices of their products in television commercials, The New York Times reported.

  • The government is reviewing the text of a final rule to impose the requirement, contending that the disclosures "will provide manufacturers with an incentive to reduce their list prices by exposing overly costly drugs to public scrutiny."

  • However, drug companies suggest that such information would be misleading in an advertisement as most consumers pay less than the list price, and they are lobbying the government in an effort to kill or delay the rule.

  • "Requiring list price disclosures could result in increased consumer confusion and may potentially deter patients from seeking care," Robert W. Jones, a senior vice president for US government relations at Pfizer, said recently.

  • Eli Lilly noted that "many patients may incorrectly surmise that they are required to pay the full list price, rather than a co-pay or coinsurance."

  • The Department of Health and Human Services has said that "consumers, intimidated and confused by high list prices, may be deterred from contacting their physicians about drugs or medical conditions," which "could discourage patients from using beneficial medications" and "potentially increase the total cost of care."

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