The American Medical Association, the largest U.S. association of physicians, recommended that federal agencies require drugmakers to include prices in direct-to-consumer ads. The resolution was passed by a voice vote Wednesday morning at the association’s annual meeting in Chicago.
The House of Delegates, the AMA’s policy arm, voted to force drugmakers to state the suggested retail price of any drug advertised directly to consumers. Specifically, Resolution 236 proposes that the AMA advocate for this measure through federal agencies that govern these communications, including the FDA, Federal Trade Commission, and Federal Communications Commission.
PhRMA spokesperson Holly Campbell said in an email that the proposal “would provide no meaningful benefit to patients,” adding that “price-comparison websites already exist to help consumers compare and look for the best retail prices[and] the price the consumer actually pays for their medications at local pharmacies. Disclosure of list-price information on an advertisement would not help patients gain meaningful access to their medicines.”
John Kamp, executive director for the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, said that even if the AMA’s advocacy efforts were fruitful, “such a provision would likely violate the First Amendment.”
This is not the first time the AMA has taken aim at DTC ads and called for measures to reduce drug prices. In November 2015, the AMA voted in support of banning DTC advertising outright. The following year, the association expressed support for independent entities determining drug prices.
The AMA also voted to recommend that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services negotiate the prices of drugs it covers.