Durbin Pushes For Legislation To Require Disclosure Of Prescription Drug Prices In TV Ads

Durbin Has Led Drug Price Transparency Effort Since 2017 With Senate Passage In 2018

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today highlighted plans to seek Senate passage for his bipartisan Drug-price Transparency in Communications (DTC) Act, a bill he introduced in May with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Angus King (I-ME), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that would require pharmaceutical companies to list prices of their prescription drugs in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements.  Durbin’s bipartisan legislation would empower patients and lower prescription drug spending by bringing transparency when Big Pharma fills the airwaves with drug ads.  Durbin and Grassley passed a similar version of this bill unanimously in the Senate in August 2018, which was ultimately removed in an appropriations conference with the House of Representatives. Grassley joined Durbin in remarks on the floor to urge support for their bill.

“We know that the pharmaceutical industry spends $6 billion a year on television advertising.  If you have never seen a drug ad on TV, I know one thing for sure -- you don't own a TV,” Durbin said.  “And what do they tell you in the ads?...They tell you everything under the sun except a very fundamental fact, that Senator Grassley has pointed out: How much does this cost?”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

The pharmaceutical industry spends $6 billion each year to flood the airwaves with drug ads in order to steer patients to specific, high-cost drugs regardless of whether the patient needs it or not, or a generic is available.  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 advertisements.  The 20 top-advertised drugs on TV cost Medicare and Medicaid $24 billion in 2017.

The Durbin-Grassley legislation is supported by eighty-eight percent of Americans, and has been endorsed by AARP, American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing.