Earlier this week, The House approved two Senate-passed bills that put a ban on “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling customers when they can save money on their prescriptions by paying out of pocket for the retail price of the drug, rather than using their insurance and making the co-payment. |
S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, applies to private plans and would ban health insurers and group health plans from preventing pharmacists from telling consumers that it would be more cost effective to pay out of pocket, as opposed to paying their insurance co-pay. Meanwhile, S. 2553 addresses patients covered under Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans and prohibits a prescription drug plan under Medicare from restricting a pharmacist from providing complete price information for a medication to a beneficiary.
The passage of both bills comes after multiple states had already taken action to stop the practice. Connecticut, Georgia, Maine and North Carolina passed legislation last year banning the practice of gag clauses. The success of these bans set the stage for ten other states around the nation to introduce bills which ultimately acted as a catalyst for federal legislation. President Trump is expected to sign both S. 2553 and S. 2554 after expressing support for both measures, while also outlining it as part of his blueprint to lower drug prices in May.