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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 GrassleyDems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request MORE (R-Iowa) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin opposes Saudi arms sale over missing journalist Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight 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 TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration 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.”