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No surprise: Drug companies don’t want to include prices in TV ads

Big profits for big pharmaWe probably should have seen this one coming. (And maybe some of you did). Big Pharma is going to court to try to block a new federal rule requiring drug companies to include their list prices in their television commercials.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, pharmaceutical giants Merck, Eli Lilly, Amgen and the Association of National Advertisers say patients will be misled about how much they have to pay for their medications. What’s more, they claim the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services overstepped its authority.

“Not only does the rule exceed the department’s statutory authority and raise freedom of speech concerns, the focus on a medicine’s list price creates confusion because it’s not the price most patients will pay,” Eli Lilly said in a statement reported by CNN.

Caitlin Oakley, HHS spokeswoman, suggested  another reason drug makers do not want their prices advertised: “If the drug companies are embarrassed by their prices or afraid that the prices will scare people away,” she said, “they should lower them.”

Do you think Big Pharma should have to include medication prices in its television ads? Share your thoughts and stories with Voices for Affordable Health.