Walmart, CVS Health, and a number of other healthcare organizations are supporting a new multi-million dollar consumer campaign to combat high prescription drug prices.
The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP), a coalition of leaders that also includes AARP, the American Hospital Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians, launched the nationwide campaign in early May “to hold Big Pharma accountable for their out-of-control prescription drug prices,” the group said in a statement.
Related: US drug spending predicted to drop
CSRxP debuted the first in a series of nationwide advertisements, “PriceGougi$ol,” on broadcast and cable television that will run in Washington, D.C., and in the districts of key lawmakers around the country.
The ads highlight the “hypocrisy of Big Pharma’s claims that out-of-control prescription drug prices are necessary to fund research and development,” CSRxP said. “The truth is, nine out of 10 of the biggest drug manufacturers in the United States spend more on advertising than they do on R&D,” the group said.
“American Society of Health-System Pharmacists members have identified this as a huge problem and a growing burden on hospital pharmacy budgets,” Joseph Hill, director of ASHP’s Government Relations Division, told FormularyWatch. “The new advertising campaign is a way to reach consumers directly and let them know this is a significant problem and that they’re not alone.”
However, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) denounced the new price gouging campaign. “Rather than offering solutions, this advertisement makes light of the real challenges patients are facing when trying to access the health care they need,” Holly Campbell, senior director of public affairs for PhRMA, told FormularyWatch. “We believe the focus should be on advancing common sense, practical solutions that bring down health care costs and lower out-of-pocket costs for patients.”
“On average, biopharmaceutical companies invest 20% of their revenue in R&D—far more than any other industry in the U.S. economy,” Campbell said.
In addition, pharmaceutical companies retain just 63% of the list price of a medicine with more than a third being rebated back to insurance companies, PBMs and the government, Campbell said.