DRUGS: Toward Open Pricing

When a doctor writes a prescription, his patient often takes it to the nearest drugstore and learns only when the pills are handed to him what they will cost. Last week the Federal Trade Commission proposed new rules that would permit pharmacies to advertise prices for prescription drugs so that patients can shop for the best bargains. By doing so, the FTC estimates, consumers could save $130 million a year.

Such advertising is now banned by law in 33 states, and by agreement among druggists' associations in most areas of the 17 others....

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