Johnson & Johnson has announced plans to disclose the price of its prescription medicines directly to customers on TV advertisements in a bid to improve transparency.

The pharmaceutical company is said to be first to implement the proposal suggested by the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) last year.

Beginning late this quarter, the company’s pharmaceutical ads will include information on the list price, as well as estimated patient out-of-pocket costs.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson North America Pharmaceuticals company group chairman Scott White said: “When the current Administration’s American Patients First Blueprint issued in May of last year proposed including list price information in DTC TV ads, we saw an opportunity to envision – and implement – additional transparency that would enable patients to make more informed decisions.”

Initially, the company will include the pricing details of its oral anti-coagulant drug Xarelto, which costs between $450 and $540 per month.

This is intended to gauge people’s reaction to knowing the price; the company then plans to consider patient and consumer feedback before expanding the initiative to additional medicines.

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar praised the company’s move to disclose the list prices in TV ads.

“We commend Johnson & Johnson for recognising the value of informing consumers about list prices and for doing so voluntarily.”

Azar said: “President Trump has put forth a plan for bringing unprecedented transparency and competition to the prescription drug market, which includes requiring the disclosure of list prices in television ads.

“We commend Johnson & Johnson for recognising the value of informing consumers about list prices and for doing so voluntarily.”

The Secretary added that transparency around list prices is supported by the government’s recent proposal to end drug rebates in the industry and push direct discounts to patients.

This new rule would eliminate the discounts paid by drugmakers to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

J&J was among the seven pharmaceutical companies that were invited by the Senate Finance Committee to testify regarding increases to drug prices in the US.

AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie and Merck also received the invites.