Health Insurance

Seeking clarity on drug pricing

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wants to make prescription drug pricing more transparent.

We agree, but his well-intentioned plan will only confuse and mislead consumers. What's the good of listing drug prices in advertising if almost no one pays that "list price?" When patients say, "My drugs are too expensive," they're not talking about the list price — they're talking about their co-pays at the pharmacy.

While pharmaceutical companies determine a drug's list price, known as the wholesale acquisition cost, health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers determine what patients will actually pay for those drugs. These "payers"...