Oct 10, 2018 / Health Care | Seniors

Gag Clause Ban Signed into Law for Lower Costs of Prescription Drugs

Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement after President Trump signed the Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2554) and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S.2553) into law. She was an original cosponsor of similar legislation in the House that passed the Energy and Commerce Committee on September 13, 2018. These bills will ban gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from informing patients when the cash price for their prescription costs less than their insurance cost-sharing arrangement.

“You should be able to trust that you’re getting the best deal at the pharmacy counter,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Unfortunately, gag clauses prevent pharmacists from telling people when cash payments are less expensive than using their insurance. This is unfair, and it’s keeping patients from saving on prescriptions. So people can pay the lowest costs for their prescriptions, I led a solution that would ban these gag clauses. For patients, seniors, and families in Eastern Washington, I’m glad that similar bills were signed into law today.”

Note: Cathy has also led in other areas to help bring down the cost of prescription drugs. McMorris Rodgers is also an original cosponsor of H.R. 1316, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, a bill to require greater transparency from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).

PBMs are the middlemen that employers and federal programs use to set prescription drug prices for consumers on their health plans. PBMs often fail to explain the process for setting these prices, and while they claim to deliver cost savings by passing along rebates to federal programs, the lack of transparency surrounding PBMs makes it impossible to track these such savings. H.R. 1316 would protect taxpayers and health care consumers by requiring greater transparency from PBMs.