May 08,2019

Grassley Statement on Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Advertising

Prepared Floor Statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, U.S. Senate Finance Committee
Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Advertising
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Millions of Americans rely on life-saving prescription medicine. 
Americans across the country expect and depend upon breakthrough drugs to live longer, healthier lives.
However, these miracle medicines won’t save lives if people can’t afford to take them.
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I’ve been taking a close look at the drug supply chain in the United States.
I’m working to lower drug prices.
My committee has held a series of hearings on this issue.
So far, we’ve heard from economists, executives from the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy benefit managers.
I’ve also introduced a handful of bipartisan bills to increase competition.
We’ve got bipartisan momentum on our side. 
And perhaps most importantly, we’ve also got President Trump leading the battle from the White House.
There’s one common denominator contributing to the high prices Americans pay for prescription drugs. 
It boils down to one word: Secrecy.
There is zero price transparency in the U.S. health care system.
In our system of free enterprise, competition and transparency drives innovation, higher quality and lower costs. 
Americans hunt for a good bargain.
You can bet your bottom dollar Iowans know where to fill up their gas tank at the most affordable price.
When there’s no transparency, there’s no price comparison.
That’s a big reason there’s sticker shock at the pharmacy counter.
And American consumers and taxpayers are paying the price.
The pharmaceutical industry spends a boatload on direct to consumer advertising. That’s to the tune of six billion dollars a year.
That’s probably why the average American today sees nine prescription drug ads every day.
The FDA regulates these ads for truthfulness and requires the disclosure of side effects.
But the industry is not required to disclose to consumers how much the drug will cost.
That’s about to change.
I’m glad Secretary Azar is making good on President’s Trump commitment to lower drug prices for Americans.
HHS has finalized its rule to require price disclosure on TV ads for prescription drugs.

Price transparency is a critical remedy to help cure the high costs of prescription drugs in America.