Drug Pricing Transparency: Government's Latest Effort To Help Patient Cut Down Costs

Dozens of medications
Dozens of medications (Photo: Pixabay/ Pexels)

The pharmaceutical industry indeed plays a great role in helping people get well with their diseases. Through this industry, medications are developed, produced, and marketed, which made every medicine available for everyone to use.

Unfortunately, this industry isn't just about helping people; it is also about profits and income. This is mainly the reason why almost a fifth of Americans is now struggling to pay for their medications to be healthy. The high costs make it impossible for even people who have illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension to take their prescribed maintenance religiously.

With the increasing cost of these medicines, the Trump Administration found a simple yet effective way, which could help those who are sick especially the ones who are suffering financially. As reported by TIME, the American government will soon require pharmaceutical companies to include the prices of their products in television advertisements.

By making the prices of these medicines transparent to the market, the administration believes they will be able to answer the financial problems patients often face when it comes to their medicines and treatments. Furthermore, price transparency could also help them drive down drug costs, especially those that are overpriced ones.    

"If we want to have a real market for drugs, why not have [companies] disclose their prices in the ads too?" says Alex Azar, secretary of the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. "Consumers would have much more balanced information, and companies would have a very different set of incentives for setting their prices," he added.

Though there is still no exact date regarding when this policy will take into effect, the government revealed the rule would be implemented this coming summer. By then, commercials will then be required to feature the medications' costs covered by Medicaid or Medicare, "if it costs at least $35 for a month's supply or the usual course of treatment", as posted by the US Department of Health & Human Services.

The goal of the new policy is to give the pharmaceutical market more information about the products, medication, and treatments they are required to take. Since mark-ups are inevitable in businesses, it is still better to update the market directly from pharmaceutical companies itself.

Unfortunately, not all drug companies agree to this new rule. One of the groups that are against it is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which is a drug trade group. According to the group, they are just concerned that the new rule might cause confusion to the public and eventually discourage them from seeking help whenever they are ill. 

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