The Trump administration is thinking of requiring pharma companies to include price information in their ads. Here is a quick thoughtful article exploring a few reasons that information might not work as intended. It includes a summary of some of the things I’ve written about copay assistance programs, that essentially make patients insensitive to the (often extremely) high price of their medications.
A proposal by the Trump administration to address the high prices of drugs by making drugmakers include list price information in direct-to-consumer advertising received renewed attention in Congress this week. But while a recent study indicates that high list prices can indeed diminish interest in a drug, it also indicated that drugmakers can get around that by promising copay assistance and coupons.
On Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, advocated inclusion of list prices in the television commercials for drugs. “I am confident in the ability of Americans to use this information to make the best decision for themselves,” he said in remarks in a hearing on drug pricing.
Some experts have already called the wisdom of that proposal into question, saying that it is more likely to cause confusion, misinformation and oversimplification of how drug pricing actually works than to create consumers well-informed and equipped to make smart decisions about their therapy.
But the new study adds an additional wrinkle, indicating that information about financial assistance may undercut the sticker shock from high prices. The study, published as a research letter last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Clemson University and Brigham Young University.
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