And the Silliness Continues!!!

You may recall that a few weeks ago, I sent you to a URL that described the new Federal regulation that will require drug manufacturers to include the “list” price of the drug in any DTC advertising. If you remember that, you may also recall that I shared my perspective that this was a really, really bad idea. Most patients don’t pay anything that even vaguely resembles the list price, so what are they to do with this (dis-) information? Probably the same thing that they do with the lists of side effects that already weigh down drug ads. Nothing. BUT, I shared my concern that being exposed to this financial marker might actually convince patients not to have a prescription for a required medication filled. Nice work!

So, check this out. No great surprise here. Just the announcement that several pharmaceutical companies have banded together to sue the Federal Government to block the enforcement of this new regulation. Who couldn’t see that one coming?

Bottom LineAs so often happens, I am of two minds about this legal action. On the one hand, I believe that it is only reasonable that someone stand up against this HHS requirement. If the Government wants the U.S. to join virtually every other country in the world in forbidding DTC advertising of prescription drugs, why don’t they just make that the law of the land? I am not sure that would be such a bad idea, and certainly would make more sense than weighing down the advertisements with all of the extra baggage of side effects and safety concerns, price, etc. 

HOWEVER. My other perspective on this is based on my concern about what yellow journalism will be doing with this suit. I can see the headlines now. “GREEDY PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY SUES TO KEEP ITS RAPACIOUS DRUG PRICES A SECRET.” Just the kind of PR our already beleaguered industry needs.

Stay tuned folks. It is my prediction that at some point, either the Federal Government will tell us to stop doing DTC or pharmaceutical companies will decide that in this regulatory climate, it is simply not worth doing. Watch for it!

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