Trump Administration Leads on Drug Pricing – Again

President Donald Trump speaks during the signing ceremony for ‘Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act’ and ‘Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018,’ in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, second from left, listen. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This week, the Trump Administration scored yet another win in securing greater transparency in the healthcare industry. To help patients better understand costs, the pharmaceutical industry will now include information in its TV ads on how to learn more about the potential costs of prescription drugs.

Earlier this year, the administration proposed mandating that pharmaceutical ads feature what’s known as the “list price.” List prices are the initial price set by a manufacturer that insurers or other healthcare organizations negotiate down. The list does not reflect what the manufacturer receives for the drug, the net price, or what the consumer pays for their prescription.

List prices are almost always higher, usually much higher, than what a consumer actually pays for their prescription. The price of prescription drugs are negotiated through numerous third parties, such as pharmacy benefit managers, and insurers, who apply numerous rebates and discounts provided by the manufacturer.

The proposal merited serious attention, as consumers seek greater clarity into the opaque health care supply chain.

Drug companies responded to the Trump Administration’s calls for transparency, by instituting new policies that will direct consumers to resources that provide details on a drug’s cost, including the list price and possible out-of-pocket costs.

The Trump Administration deserves credit for this, as many pundits and national media outlets projected that the proposal would never come to fruition. The pharmaceutical industry even expressed reservations at the plan.

Yet, here we are.

President Trump and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar have unceasingly focused on how to provide more transparency for consumers to help bring down prices, from banning gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from helping patients find the best price for their prescription to increasing pressure on companies to reduce price increases.

This action is just the latest example of the healthcare industry following President Trump’s lead, benefiting all patients and consumers.

Hopefully, this is just the latest in many initiatives increasing transparency across every sector of the healthcare industry and, judging by President Trump’s track record, we can expect that it is.