The Trump administration on Friday proposed requiring drug companies to disclose the list prices of their drugs as part of their advertising.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would be "immediately" looking into the proposal.
"Think about all the time everybody spends watching drug company ads, and how much information companies are required to put in them," Azar said in the White House Rose Garden. "If we want to have a real market for drugs, why not have them disclose their prices in the ads, too? Consumers would have much more balanced information, and companies would have a very different set of incentives for setting their prices."
The administration has put forward several proposals to lower the cost of prescription drugs. It released details this week and in the president's budget proposal for how it would achieve that goal. Plans include increasing the number of generic drugs on the market, which tend to be less expensive, as well as having other countries pay more for drugs, noting that the U.S. pays more than other developed nations.
Requiring pharmaceutical companies to provide information about the list prices of their drugs had not been mentioned by the administration before. List prices are different than what most consumers pay, because health insurers, hospitals, or the government negotiate final spending. People without health insurance often are asked to pay the full list price for drugs.
Health officials hope that requiring list prices to be included in ads would help lower list prices and reduce the amount consumers pay for drugs. The proposal likely will mean a months-long evaluation by the FDA, requiring input from the public and then a final determination.