House Lawmakers Pass Bills to Prohibit Pharmacy Gag Clauses

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A federal bill that would lift ‘gag clauses’ prohibiting pharmacists from sharing prescription drug prices with customers was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives Tuesday.

A federal bill that would lift ‘gag clauses’ prohibiting pharmacists from sharing prescription drug prices with customers was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives Tuesday. House lawmakers also unanimously passed a bill that would give Medicare patients further access to drug prices.

Both bills previously passed the Senate,

unanimously, and await President Trump’s signature. According to lawmakers, the bipartisan bills are expected to be signed into law.

The president also expressed support for the initiative in a Tweet posted prior to the Senate’s votes.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), an author on both bills, said in a prepared statement that ‘gag clauses’ inserted into contracts by health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) conceal lower prescription drug prices from patients by prohibiting pharmacists from sharing the information. Although health insurance plans are intended to save consumers money, she said, ‘gag clauses’ have the opposite effect.

"Who would think that using your debit card to buy your prescription drugs would be less expensive than using your insurance card? It’s counterintuitive,” Collins said, in the statement.

“Americans have the right to know which payment method provides the most savings when purchasing their prescription drugs.”

In a prepared statement, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), also an author on both bills, said the legislation offered a "commonsense fix" that would help citizens better afford their prescriptions.

“Nearly one in four Americans pay more for their prescriptions than they need to—and at a time when drug prices are skyrocketing, and Missourians are struggling to pay for their prescriptions, that’s just unacceptable,” McCaskill said.

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