AARP Sides With White House, Says Drug Ads Should Include Prices

Siding with the Trump administration, the AARP says drug companies should be required to include the price of prescriptions in ads on television and streaming video.

“Improving transparency shreds the cloak of secrecy around drug prices by revealing valuable information to consumers and other stakeholders so they can seek viable, cost-reducing solutions,” the nonprofit organization for Americans over 50 argues in a friend-of-the-court brief filed this week with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

AARP is weighing in on a lawsuit brought by the Association of National Advertisers and three pharmaceutical companies -- Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen -- against the Trump administration.

The ANA and pharmaceutical companies sued in June to block a new Health and Human Services rule requiring price disclosures. The ANA and others argued that the agency lacked authority to issue the rule, and that the disclosures would be misleading because the list price of drugs is higher than the out-of-pocket cost for many consumers.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C. blocked the ad regulation in July. The White House recently appealed that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The AARP is asking the appellate court to reverse Mehta's ruling and allow the new regulation to take effect.

The organization says that requiring price disclosures in video ads will benefit consumers. “It allows them to be more informed about drug costs and cost effective alternatives when they talk with their health care providers about their treatment options,” AARP writes. “The current pharmaceutical distribution system does not make essential pricing information available to patients and providers, information that they need when evaluating treatment options.”

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