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    AMA Wants Drug Prices in Ads

    The AMA is pushing for greater drug pricing transparency.

    Money

    At its Annual Meeting in Chicago, the American Medical Association adopted several policies designed to increase drug pricing transparency.

    The move is a part of AMA’s campaign to fight against rising drug prices. An AMA-sponsored website, TruthinRx, was set up to give patients who are affected by rising drug prices a place to voice their concerns. The association has called for the complete abolition of direct-to-consumer drug ads in the past, but now seem to have tempered its message.

    Related article: Are Rebates Responsible for Higher Drug Costs?

    The new policies aimed at improving pricing transparency include: requiring drug manufacturers to include suggested retail pricing information in any direct-to-consumer advertising, launching an awareness campaign against practices leading to a rise in naloxone prices, and requiring drug manufacturers to give public notice and justification before increasing drug prices more than 10% in a 12-month period.

    “Taken together, these policies would bring much needed transparency to drug pricing and provide a clear benefit to consumers struggling with exorbitant costs,” said AMA President-elect Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. in a press release. “There seems to be no logic—or warning—to these price spikes. In the case of naloxone, communities are struggling to afford a life-saving treatment. Sunlight is needed to help respond to price shifts, because if the pricing trends continue, patients and communities will not be able to afford life-saving drugs.”

    The AMA said that it will make its recommendations to several federal agencies, including the FDA, the FTC, and the FCC, to include the requirement for drug pricing in ads.

    Related article: Why Specialty Drug Prices Will Continue to Soar

    The awareness campaign regarding naloxone price increases will seek to spread awareness about the causes of the price increases. “The AMA will raise awareness of the troubling conduct of the three manufacturers of naloxone that enlisted assistance of physician, community groups, and elected officials to raise awareness and coverage of naloxone only to precipitously and inexplicably dramatically increase prices as soon as public policy changed to increase access,” the AMA said. The organization added that it will support legislation and other regulatory efforts to “increase access to affordable naloxone.” This includes support for collaborative practice agreements with pharmacists.

    Finally, the organization believes that requiring public notice on upcoming drug price increases “would generate information about the most egregious examples of price gouging, particularly for older drugs.”

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