Johnson & Johnson to disclose drug list prices in TV ads

Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it will start showing the list price of its prescription drugs in television ads, making it the first company to do so.

The company will roll out the policy later this quarter, starting with its most frequently prescribed medicine, Xarelto, an oral blood thinner.

Xarelto costs $450 to $540 per month without insurance, according to the website GoodRx, which tracks prescription drug prices. 

Scott White, head of J&J’s North American pharmaceutical marketing, said in a blog post that the ads will include both the list price and potential patient out-of-pocket costs.

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The move follows a proposal by the Trump administration to require companies to disclose list prices in direct-to-consumer advertising.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar praised the move Thursday.

"We commend Johnson & Johnson for recognizing the value of informing consumers about list prices and for doing so voluntarily. We call on other manufacturers to follow their lead," Azar said in a statement.

The administration’s policy is opposed by the drug industry’s primary lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

PhRMA has said putting list prices directly into advertisements is misleading and doesn’t give patients the context they need to make informed decisions.

Instead, the group wants its members to voluntarily direct viewers to a website or a toll-free telephone number where they can learn about the list price, average out-of-pocket costs and patient assistance programs.

Last month, Eli Lilly was the first company to adopt PhRMA's principles.