Perspectives: Is Requiring Pharma to Include Prices In Ads Long Overdue Or Is It Ineffective?
Read recent commentaries about the Trump administration's plan to require companies to include medications' prices in their ads, along with other drug-cost issues.
Trump's Drug-Ad Price Shaming Won't Fix The Problem
Naming and shaming has become a signature part of President Donald Trump’s drug-pricing efforts. A series of tweets earlier this year managed to push pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer Inc. to temporarily halt price increases. The tactic is being taken to a new level with the administration’s plan, officially revealed Monday afternoon by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, to force drugmakers to disclose the list price of medicines available under Medicare or Medicaid in their TV ads. The thinking is, if pharmaceutical companies have to reveal what they charge in such a conspicuous way, they may not price medicines so highly to begin with and may be less inclined to increase prices. (Max Nisen, 10/15)
Your Prescription Drugs: Transparency In TV Ads Is Overdue
Hours before Alex Azar’s announcement, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America made its first countermove, announcing an alternate plan to publicize prices. It would disclose prices and co-payments of drugs advertised on TV on a new website starting in the spring. PhRMA denounced the government's plan to disclose list prices directly on TV as “confusing, misleading” and not “what patients want or need.” Azar's response? The sudden volunteer effort was certainly coincidental, he said, adding that “placing information on a website is not the same as putting it right in an ad.” We agree. If companies want to advertise the benefits of their drugs, they ought to reveal the prices at the same time and place. (10/16)
Drug-Price Transparency Won’t End The Patent Games
Late last week, Sandoz Inc., the generics division of Novartis AG, settled a patent lawsuit with AbbVie Inc. over Humira, a so-called biologic drug that treats rheumatoid arthritis and just so happens to be the biggest money-maker in all of pharma. With 2017 sales of $18.4 billion, Humira accounts for an astonishing 65 percent of AbbVie’s revenue. The settlement will enable Sandoz to bring a generic version — called a biosimilar — to the U.S. market at the beginning of 2023, while paying AbbVie a royalty. This mirrored similar settlements with Mylan NV, Amgen Inc. and Samsung Bioepis Co. Ltd. that will allow all of them to sell generic Humira at staggered dates in 2023. (A fifth company, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, is continuing to litigate over the Humira patents.) (Joe Nocera, 10/16)
Requiring That Drug Advertisements Include List Prices Promotes Misinformation
The largest problems in the health care industry are often created by reformers envisioning themselves as free market saviors, when in reality they are merely advocates for more intrusive government regulations. The Trump administration’s proposal to require that drug advertisements include the medicine’s list price is such an example. On its face, requiring price disclosure appears to promote transparency and free markets. Why shouldn’t consumers know the price of a good before they purchase it? Of course, consumers should. The problem is that, like many products, it is not possible to convey one price that accurately reflects the cost that any individual consumer will pay. Prices for soda, a much simpler product, exemplifies the types of problems that can arise. (Wayne Winegarden, 10/16)
Yes, Drug Prices Are Too High
The Trump administration and other experts have been calling for pharmaceutical manufacturers to lower their prices and make drugs more affordable for patients. In this exclusive MedPage Today video, Jack Lewin, MD, chairman of the National Coalition on Health Care, discusses several tools the government could use to get drug prices to drop. (10/16)
A New Era For Drug Pricing: The 'Accountable Choice'
Can we trust people to make good decisions about their own health? As a society, we are of two minds on this matter. The fundamental institutional structures of the health care system presume that patients are uninformed and unengaged and must be protected from their own irrational decisions. Yet at the same time, and now with growing force, we are restructuring the system on the presumption that individuals can — and should — take active, informed, and cost-conscious roles as consumers. (James C. Robinson, 10/11)
Allogene’s Monster Biotech IPO Defies Market Rout
In a standout year for biotech IPOs, Allogene Therapeutics Inc.’s market debut may be the most remarkable yet. The company raised $324 million Wednesday in a richly priced stock sale that instantly made Allogene one of the biggest biotech IPOs yet. On Thursday, in the teeth of a messy market, the shares climbed some 30 percent on their first day of trading. (Max Nisen, 10/11)