House Republican: Disclosing drug prices in TV ads 'doesn't help the consumer very much'

Rep. Larry BucshonLarry Dean BucshonHillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Facebook deepfake ban falls short | House passes bills to win 5G race | Feds sound alarm on cyberthreat from Iran | Ivanka Trump appearance at tech show sparks backlash Lawmakers voice skepticism over Facebook's deepfake ban Trump unveils plan to help kidney patients in push to lower health costs MORE (R-Ind.) told Hill.TV on Wednesday that efforts to disclose drug prices in TV ads could create more confusion for patients.

Bucshon, a physician, said that while he agrees with a lot of what the Trump administration is trying to do when it comes to advocating for more transparency in health care costs, setting drug prices is often a complicated process.

"I do have to agree that putting just the list price on a television ad, for example, doesn’t help the consumer very much," Bucshon said in an interview, who noted that he doesn't support direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals.

“In general, I think direct-to-consumer marketing of a complicated drug product for a complicated medical situation is not necessarily helpful to the consumer. And certainly, as a physician, I think you’ll find doctors saying that patients come in a little bit confused. And that’s why, in general, I think it’s not the greatest way to get the message out about what’s available,” he added.

But he said the ads can help patients get a better understanding of what drugs are out there.

“It does help for people out there to understand what is available,” he said.

Bucshon’s comments come after a federal judge on Monday sided with a coalition of drug companies and blocked a rule that would require drug prices in TV ads.

The rule had been scheduled to take effect this week.

Under the proposed rule, first announced by the Department of Health and Human Services in May, drug manufacturers would have to disclose the list price of a 30-day supply of any drug that costs at least $35 a month and is covered through Medicare and Medicaid.

However, the U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) doesn’t have the authority to impose such a requirement.

“No matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance,” Mehta wrote.

—Tess Bonn