BREAKING NEWS: HHS Unveils Plan To Force Drug Price Disclosure In Ads

By Jeff Overley

Law360 (October 15, 2018, 4:33 PM EDT)


The Trump administration on Monday unveiled its proposal to require disclosure of drug prices in pharmaceutical advertisements, a controversial move likely to draw a legal challenge from the pharmaceutical industry.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined its plan in a 45-page proposed rule that would force drug companies to divulge the sticker prices of prescription drugs in promotional spots on television. The issue is controversial because patients rarely pay anything close to the sticker price.

Earlier Monday, trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America floated an alternative approach in which its 33 member companies would use their ads to voluntarily direct consumers to websites with information about sticker prices, financial assistance and possible out-of-pocket costs.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar quickly rejected PhRMA’s overture on Monday, calling it “a small step in the right direction” but not enough to make the proposed rule unnecessary.

Prior to the rule’s release, top officials at PhRMA suggested that litigation is possible if the rule forces them to make statements they find misleading.

“The concern is that if the government is compelling companies to speak, then that violates the First Amendment,” James Stansel, PhRMA’s general counsel, told reporters on Monday.

This is a developing story.