Two House bills were passed on September 25 and are heading to President Trump’s desk. The two bills, already passed in the Senate, ban so-called “gag clauses,” which prohibit pharmacists from letting the patient know how they can save money on prescriptions.
Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act
The first bill, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), allows pharmacists to share prices with patients who have private insurance plans.
Know the Lowest Price Act
The second bill, the Know the Lowest Price Act, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), allows pharmacists to let Medicare beneficiaries know if it’s cheaper to purchase their prescription out-of-pocket than under their Medicare plan.
Transparency in drug pricing
These two important bills would increase transparency in drug pricing. A 2018 report from the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics notes that patients overpay for prescriptions 23% of the time.
Trump will likely sign the bills into law, as he has expressed approval for banning gag clauses.
Even with these measures in place, drug prices will still be high since drug companies set the prices with pharmacy benefit managers, and Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices. But this legislation, if enacted, is one step in the right direction.
Stay tuned to Medicare World for how this and other legislation affects your rights.