AMA Considers Backing the Disclosure of Drug Prices on Consumer Ads

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising became legal in the United States in 1997 but has been debated ever since, with some groups claiming that this type of marketing is designed to encourage patients to pressure their physicians into prescribing more expensive medications. Now, the American Medical Association (AMA) is reviewing a proposed resolution to back federal regulations and legislation that would require drug manufacturers to disclose prices in DTC advertising.

The resolution is supported by state medical societies from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and states that, “Prescription rates of those medications advertised directly to consumers have increased by 34.2 percent, compared [with] a 5.1 percent increase in other pharmaceuticals [… and these drugs] tend to be the newer and more expensive ones in their classes.”

The resolution also cites 73 existing branded drugs whose prices have increased by ≥75 percent since 2007, as well as climbing prices for many recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved oncology drugs.

“Advertising should be required to state the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of those drugs,” according to the resolution. “In a free enterprise system such as we have in the United States, the purchasing public should be educated.”

If the resolution is approved, AMA delegates would begin to advocate to federal agencies, including the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, for potential regulation of drug advertisements.

Source: Forbes, June 8, 2017.