Johnson & Johnson Will Be The First Drug Company To Put Prescription Medication Prices in TV Ads
“Consumers deserve a clearer picture of what they can expect to pay at the pharmacy,” Scott White, who heads JNJ’s North American pharmaceutical marketing, wrote in a company blog post on Thursday.
This is in line with what JNJ CEO Alex Gorsky told Fortune during an interview in December.
“We think the education of consumers is a good thing,” he said. “I think they should be as informed and educated about their healthcare pricing and decisions. And they’ve got to be part of that conversation, just as insurers, distributors, pharmacists and other people in the system.”
JNJ will begin disclosing drugs’ listing price—before insurance rebates or refunds—as well as what patients could pay out of pocket before the end of the quarter. The company will kick off the new commercial guidelines in an ad for its most prescribed medication Xarelto, a blood thinner that costs between $450 and $540 a month, Reuters reports.
According to JNJ’s blog, the company was inspired to make this change after the Trump Administration released its “American Patients First Blueprint” last May, which promised to immediately call for an “FDA evaluation of requiring manufacturers to include list prices in advertising”
While Trump anticipates that various suggestions in his health care proposal would lead to “massive drops” in drug prices, other experts question if it will have any impact.
Regardless, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was quick to release a statement Thursday praising JNJ’s voluntary transparency decision, urging “other manufacturers to follow their lead.”
“Before a patient is prescribed a drug, they deserve to know what that drug costs and what it will cost them,” Azar said. “We will continue to take action to make that a reality.”
JNJ could use the goodwill. The company has recently faced severe scrutiny in recent months after reports showed that the company might have known that its talcum powder—aka baby powder—contained cancer-causing asbestos for decades. JNJ has lost $50 billion in market value since and faces various lawsuits.