HHS revamps fight to publish drug prices in TV ads

HHS is fighting back after a legal decision blocked the agency’s rule to require drugmakers to publish the list prices of prescription medications in television ads.

Under the rule, which HHS finalized in May, drug manufacturers would have to include the wholesale acquisition price for a month’s supply of a drug if it exceeds $35. HHS officials have argued the transparency will give consumers more empowering information and boost competition to potentially lower drug prices.

Since the rule was finalized, drug industry stakeholders, including major companies Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen, sued to have the rule blocked. A judge agreed with the drug industry in July, effectively stopping the rule to go into effect.

On Wednesday, HHS filed an appeal to fight the judge’s decision.

The initiative to publish drug prices is in line with HHS’ efforts to increase transparency and lower costs. More recently, the Trump administration has put forth several executive actions and proposals to require hospitals and health plans to share their negotiated prices for healthcare services.