Xarelto to Become First Prescription Drug With TV Ads That Includes Pricing

March 29, 2019, 1:37 PM UTC

Xarelto has been a popular drug-thinner for years—and the target of more than 25,000 lawsuits recently settled by Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson for $775 million.

Now Xarelto, a brand name for generic rivaroxaban, is getting some attention for something different. It’s about to become the first drug to include prices in television ads, according to Axios.

The U.S. has the highest prescription drug prices in the world, with debate over how to lower costs for consumers. One of the tools under consideration has been forcing pharmaceutical companies to reveal prices, as Kaiser Health News has reported. By knowing the cost, so the reasoning goes, consumers could seek lower-cost alternatives that might be as effective. The Trump administration discussed such a strategy in 2018.

But drug prices are notoriously difficult to specify. There are list prices, discounted prices to pharmacy benefit managers that control reimbursement for many prescriptions, average sales prices, average wholesale prices, and actual out-of-pocket prices under insurance plans. Then the costs may vary additionally by dosage.

Johnson & Johnson decided to move ahead before any legislation or regulation. That gives the company a first-mover advantage and could help set the practice that might one day be imposed.

The company will include a monthly list price before rebates to insurers or pharmacy benefit managers and then add a range of common co-pays. For Xarelto, that would mean a $448 monthly list price and $0 to $47 insurance copay, depending on the plan.