Senate passes measure to require disclosure of drug prices in TV ads

Senate passes measure to require disclosure of drug prices in TV ads

The Senate on Thursday passed a measure to provide funding to require drug advertisements to disclose the price of the drug after a last-minute push.

The passage came as part of the massive health-care spending bill that the Senate passed on Thursday, which included the amendment from Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP can beat Democrats after impeachment — but it needs to do this one thing Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report Senate begins preparations for Trump trial MORE (R-Iowa) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Durbin says he hopes enough GOP senators know that 'history will find you' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (D-Ill.).

The move marks a rare moment where Congress took some action aimed at high drug prices, a contentious issue that has been a recent target of Democrats and the Trump administration.

“More information gives transparency to the transaction, and will help give American consumers a break and start to slow down the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs,” Durbin said in a statement.  

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The Senate’s health spending bill still needs to be reconciled with the House’s before it goes to the president’s desk.

Grassley and Durbin worked up until Thursday to get their amendment included, warning that powerful pharmaceutical companies were working against them.

“What we're up against here is a very powerful interest in this town,” Grassley said earlier on Thursday.

The pharmaceutical industry opposes requiring prices to be disclosed in TV ads. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main drug industry lobbying group, warned the move would “confuse patients” and could violate the First Amendment.

The Trump administration supports the idea, and has proposed it as part of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE’s plan to lower drug prices.

David Mitchell, president of the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs, said the move was not a major step but was going in the right direction.

“We don't see this as a big step that will lower drug prices,” he tweeted. “But giving consumers/patients more info is a good thing in and of itself.”