Top Democrat praises Trump’s plan requiring drugmakers to list prices in TV ads

A top Democrat is praising the Trump administration’s plan to require drug manufacturers to list the price of prescriptions in their television ads, saying she believes it will help put public pressure on companies to lower them.

“I think that will really be helpful and I’m hoping that next month when it was scheduled to go into effect, that we’re going to finally see that for drugs that are really expensive,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) told Hill.TV during an interview that aired on Thursday.

Schakowsky, a senior chief deputy whip in House Democratic leadership, added that she believes the rule will create more public pressure on drug manufacturers over the cost of prescriptions, saying “there will be a bit of a shaming aspect to it.”

The Illinois lawmaker joined “Rising” to discuss the current state of the health care system and efforts to improve it as part of an ongoing series called “The Future of Medicare.”

Her comments come after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule in May that forces drug makers to list the price for any medication covered by Medicare or Medicaid that is “equal to or greater than $35 for a month’s supply or the usual course of therapy.”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar, who announced the new policy, said the rule was designed to bring more transparency to the health care system, and help empower patients by allowing them to know their drug prices up front. 

“Requiring the inclusion of drugs’ list prices in TV ads is the single most significant step any administration has taken toward a simple commitment: American patients deserve to know the prices of the healthcare they receive,” Azar said in a statement finalizing the policy. 

The rule was scheduled to take effect in July, but is now facing pushback from drug companies and advertisers.

Several pharmaceutical companies, including Amgen Merck and Eli Lilly, along with the Association of National Advertisers sued the Trump administration over the policy earlier this month.

While they argue that they didn’t disagree with calls for more transparency, they said administration’s rule raises concerns around free speech and First Amendment rights.

“Far from promoting transparency and improved decision-making, therefore, the rule would instead force pharmaceutical companies to mislead tens of millions of Americans about the price they would actually pay for important medicines that might improve their health or even save their lives,” their lawsuit states.

⁠—Tess Bonn

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