Can’t wait to see actual drug prices in TV commercials? Maybe overall medical procedures will not be far behind. But a key question: How big will the written words be on your TV screen?
On Monday, Alex Azar, Trump Administration Secretary of Health and Human Services, released a proposal that would force pharmaceutical companies to display the price patients would need to pay for a 30-day supply in all drug ads that appear on TV.
Pfizer's heavily advertised nerve pain drug Lyrica? It has a monthly list price of $669, according to reports. AbbVie’s Humira, a treatment for immune system disorders like rheumatoid arthritis? It carries a list price of $4,872 per monthly injection.
Why stop there? Hospitals also advertise on TV. Why not show a heart-value replacement cost of around $200,000?
Rest assured, if such an advertising regulation takes effect, all this new data may look microscopic -- literally. Really small print. On moving video, you'd have to grab the remote and press stop.
Good news for TV networks, especially the older-skewing ones that cater more to pharmaceutical companies. TV advertising money, in the billions, won’t slow down.
We already have some product prices in TV ads. We see them for the automotive industry, when it comes to leasing and/or buying cars -- as well as other products. But again. Small print. And on the air for like two seconds.
This is a different context — crucial life and death drugs consumers need. Consumers need to know information up front. There is the possible added effect of putting pressure on big pharma to lower prices.
One problem is this: A TV commercial is not like a page of content -- or advertising -- on digital media, where one, in theory, has the time to analyze pricing and quality of products/services.
It would be great if more products/services advertising on TV required on-screen pricing. For example, how much would it cost consumers to get out of seemingly forever time-share arrangements? ($4,000? $7,000?).
Perhaps, traditional TV needs to step up its game to compete with digital media in this regard.
The Trump Administration may be on to something. It should go further. List all prices for any product/service — even a night’s stay at one of The Trump Organization’s high-priced hotels.