July 10,2019

Grassley, Durbin Vow to Keep Pushing for List Prices on DTC Drug Advertisements

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) released the following statements regarding a federal judge’s ruling that direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertisements do not have to include the list price of the drug.


“The ever-rising cost of prescription drugs is one of the most pressing problems in our health care system. Targeted, bipartisan solutions will provide real relief to patients and health care consumers. The direct-to-consumer price disclosure measure is a commonsense approach that will help reduce drug costs,” Grassley said. “There is a severe lack of transparency in the health care system. The DTC measure would shine a light on the outrageous cost of medications and give health care consumers information they need to make the best decision for their circumstance. Senator Durbin and I plan on renewing our push to provide a legislative solution to this problem by moving our bipartisan bill introduced earlier this year that would require this type of disclosure by federal law.”


“Apparently a little daylight is too much for Big Pharma. Rather than level with the American public about the sky-high cost of their drugs—when they run their non-stop ads—Pharma sued to block patients from knowing the price. A federal court agreed with Pharma this week, but this isn’t over.  I believe Congress should step up and pass a law to require price disclosure. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Grassley for swift passage of our bipartisan bill to provide patients with the information about drug prices they deserve,” Durbin said.  


The average American sees nine DTC prescription drug ads each day. Studies show that patients are more likely to ask their doctor for a specific brand-name medication, and doctors are more likely to prescribe one, when they have been marketed directly with drug advertisement.


Grassley and Durbin introduced the bipartisan measure to require price disclosures in DTC ads. The senators also offered an amendment in May of this year to codify the rule after court interference. The measure passed the Senate but was ultimately removed from the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education appropriations “minibus” package.


Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruled that pharmaceutical companies would be required to include list prices of their prescription drugs in DTC ads.


The legislation has been endorsed by AARP, American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing.