For years, some pharmacists were not allowed to tell patients about cheaper ways to pay for their prescription drugs.
“They were being asked to sign contracts in order to get prescription drugs for their customers that included gag clauses,” says Stabenow. “They were very upset about that.”
The gag clause allows insurers or middlemen that negotiate with drug companies to ban pharmacists from telling patients about certain ways to save money.
“They can’t tell a patient if they just paid out of pocket for a drug it would cost them less than if they used their insurance.” Says Alex Azar, HHS Secretary.
Stabenow worked with Republican Senator Susan Collins on a bill that would make the clauses illegal, “and allow pharmacists to tell people the lowest price they can pay at the counter.”
The Senate passed the bill 98 to 2.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says banning gag clauses has been a top priority in the Trump administration.
“We found that unconscionable,” says Azar. “We acted immediately in the Medicare program to make it clear that was unconscionable and impermissible.”
President Trump tweeted about the issue last month — saying, “I support legislation that will remove gag clauses and urge the Senate to act.”
The bill is now on his desk, awaiting his signature.