PhRMA points finger at insurers on new drug cost website for consumers

Pharma industry trade organization PhMRA new website is part of its "Let's Talk About Cost" campaign. (Images Money/CC BY 2.0)

PhRMA wants to keep talking about drug costs. So as part of its ongoing “Let’s Talk About Cost” marketing campaign, the pharma trade organization launched a new consumer-facing website to address the issue and explain the industry's perspective.

LetsTalkAboutCost.org is meant “to provide consumers with easy-to-understand information about the cost and coverage of medicines,” PhRMA wrote in a blog post. The site has facts, figures and other content about the cost of drugs, including an interactive quiz that points out the other factors that affect overall healthcare costs, as well as the role of health insurers and hospital markups in drug pricing.

RELATED: Under fire for pricing and more, PhRMA boosts lobbying spend 30% in 2017

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It’s not an unexpected move from the trade organization, of course—an ongoing theme in PhRMA’s lobbying message over the past year is that pharma is not solely to blame for high drug costs. In research and marketing they have pointed to middlemen, including insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, who “don’t always share” pharma discounts and rebates with patients.

The idea behind the new website is to go beyond policy makers and industry players to talk directly to average consumers about drug pricing.

“This new consumer-facing site will help us ensure our messages reach and resonate with consumers outside the beltway,” Holly Campbell, senior director of communications at PhRMA, said via email.

RELATED: PhRMA expels 22 members with new R&D rules as it works to burnish its image

PhRMA’s national print, radio, digital and social effort around drug costs began in July and also serves as the branded umbrella for all of PhRMA’s cost and value communications. Ads have run in The Wall Street Journal asking questions such as “Why am I paying more than my insurer for my medicine?” and “Who decides what I pay for my medicine?” The drug cost work is part of PhRMA’s broader campaign, “Go Boldly,” meant to boost the pharma industry’s reputation.