17 Jul Five Ways Big Pharma Can Be More Transparent
In recent years, drug companies have regularly touted the need for more information from hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Discount Program. Given the opaqueness of Big Pharma’s own pricing information, we find these demands for ‘transparency’ rather rich. Because the industry seems very keen to go there, then let’s do — starting with the manufacturers themselves.
We call on Congress to pass legislation requiring pharmaceutical companies participating in the 340B program to disclose the following information:
1. Total annual profits each drug company makes by selling drugs through the 340B program.
2. Total annual profits from selling medicines to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Drug companies make these billions in return for providing 340B discounts to safety-net hospitals and clinics. In 2021, that market was worth $189 billion. Taxpayers deserve to know how much their tax dollars inflate drug companies’ profits.
3. Report “good faith” inquiries and results to the Health Resources and Services Administration.
What are drug companies finding in the tens of thousands of information claim requests made to hospitals? Health providers spend an inordinate amount of time answering these queries.
4. Provide the total annual drug company spending on TV advertising.
The United States and Australia are the only two countries that allow this kind of drug marketing.
5. Provide annual totals on how much is spent on patient assistance programs and coupons.
We know that these rebates are designed to start patients on lifetime regimens with discounts that may only last three months. Then the cost is borne by the patient or the hospital.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Big Pharma to embrace such transparency measures.
Why? Because while its mouthpieces in Washington sanctimoniously call for openness, the industry is a legendary black box. The only thing drug companies are interested in is padding their fat profits.
Do you agree or disagree?
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