PhRMA Responds to HHS DTC Rule, Launches Website Providing Patients with Cost Information
Washington, D.C. (May 8, 2019) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) president and CEO Steven J. Ubl issued the following statement:
“We are concerned that the administration’s rule requiring list prices in direct-to-consumer (DTC) television advertising could be confusing for patients and may discourage them from seeking needed medical care. We support providing patients with more transparency about medicine costs, which is why our member companies voluntarily began directing patients to links to comprehensive cost information in their DTC television advertising. After speaking with patients across the country, we learned that patients prefer this approach.
“This is also why today we announced the launch of a new platform for patients, caregivers and health care providers called the Medicine Assistance Tool, or MAT. This tool links to the websites referenced in company DTC television advertising and includes a search tool to help patients connect to financial assistance programs. This effort is just one of several ways our members are working to ensure patients have the information they need to make more informed health care decisions.
“While we are still reviewing the administration’s rule, we believe there are operational challenges, particularly the 60-day implementation timeframe, and think the final rule raises First Amendment and statutory concerns.”
Background on the Medicine Assistance Tool (MAT)
The Medicine Assistance Tool, or MAT, is an online platform that complements PhRMA member companies’ new approach to DTC television advertising announced in October 2018. As part of this effort, the PhRMA board of directors adopted enhancements to its voluntary DTC principles to state that “[a]ll DTC television advertising that identifies a prescription medicine by name should include direction as to where patients can find information about the cost of a medicine, such as a company-developed website, including the list price and average, estimated, or typical patient out-of-pocket costs, or other context about the potential cost of the medicine.” MAT provides patients, caregivers and providers with links to these new websites and includes a search engine to connect patients with medicine-specific financial assistance programs. In addition, MAT has resources to help patients navigate their insurance coverage.
PhRMA partnered with consumer, patient, pharmacist and provider groups to develop MAT.
MAT expands upon the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), which has helped connect more than 10 million patients to public and private assistance programs over the last decade. Patients visiting PPARX.org will now be redirected to this more comprehensive resource.
For more information, visit MAT.org.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $71.4 billion in 2017 alone.
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