HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - When watching television, it’s not long before an ad for a prescription drug plays on the screen.

The ads typically start off with a brief testimonial on the benefits, then list off the drug's side effects before pushing to the doctor's advice.

There’s always one important thing missing from those ads - the price. Soon, however, changes are coming to the pharmaceutical marketing industry.

For the first time, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced that by the end of the first quarter in March, the company will include both the list price and potential out-of-pocket costs for patients for its medicines in TV ads.

Dr. Ron Reynolds, with Beach Family and Urgent Care, said this step in transparency is extremely overdue in the industry, but questions how the company will pinpoint the typical cost a patient will pay.

“The whole question would be is how far down those prices can be buried in any type of commercial? Is this something that these prices are going to be very much up front?” Reynolds said.

Johnson & Johnson officials said they plan to start off disclosing prices in ads for its most prescribed medication - XARELTO, a blood thinner that typically costs between $450 and $540 a month.

It will also direct viewers to additional information online. The company said its decision to air prices in its TV ads comes in response to the Trump Administration’s proposal, as well as consumer input.

Sam Abraham, pharmacist and owner of Carolina Forest Pharmacy, said while this is a step in the right direction toward transparency, there's still many steps that need to happen to avoid confusion for patients down the road.

"We need to know a little more about what price they will put and how that is impacted by the insurance policy, the deductibles, the donut holes, and all these things,” Abraham said. “Patients need to look into their insurance booklet and see what's the policy, what drugs are on the formulary, and how that impacts their co-pay. There is quite a few things.”

Since insurance plays a big role in determining the final cost of prescription drugs, pharmacists can recommend generic alternatives for patients to help bring prices down.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.