Agreements between pharmacies and insurance companies kept some pharmacists from disclosing cheaper drug options to consumers
Despite his setback in repealing Obamacare, President Donald Trump is diligently working at ways to roll back healthcare costs for Americans.
The President has just signed new laws to help make cheaper prescription medicine more accessible to millions of Americans.
President Trump on Wednesday signed two new bills lifting gag clauses for prescription drug consultations.
The gag clause gave insurance companies control of what pharmacists could say to you, barring them from telling you if there’s a cheaper alternative to your meds.
Under the new law, pharmacists will be allowed to tell patients about lower-cost options.
The two bills the president signed are “Know the Lowest Price Act” and the “Patients’ Right to Know Drug Prices Act.” The two bills cover both private insurance and those offered through Medicare Part D—the part of Medicare that covers the drug benefits for people 65 and older.
“It’s way out of whack. It’s way too high,” Trump said of the current state of drug pricing at the signing. “You look at prices in our country and for the exact same drug in other countries, it’s much lower — made in the same plant by the same company — and I said, ‘What’s going on?'”
He added, “Now, they’ll be able to see pricing and they’ll be able to see where they should go and as they start leaving certain pharmacies, those pharmacies will be dropping their prices.”
The new laws are supported by many pharmacies.
“We believe these two bills help unshackle pharmacists to use their expertise to have conversations with patients that help them receive the most appropriate medication at the lowest cost without fear of retribution,” says Doug Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, a trade group that represents independent pharmacists. In addition, Hoey says, the new laws also mean PBMs cannot retaliate against pharmacists for helping patients get a lower drug price.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), an industry group that works on behalf of PBMs, said in a statement that both bills already align with standard industry practices.
Prescription drug costs have been rising this year (by 3.7 percent in the first quarter and 3.4 in the second, averaging 3.5 percent growth for the first half of the year), along with other heathcare costs. Perhaps this is the first set of laws in a string of more to come that will reduce costs for Americans, and end the constant escalation of healthcare prices and medical bureaucracy.
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