WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate health committee, released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed two bipartisan bills (S. 2554 and S. 2553) he helped introduce to remove barriers that prevent patients from paying the lowest possible price for prescription drugs. These bills would prohibit health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from using “pharmacy gag clauses”—an egregious practice used to hide prices from patients at the pharmacy, causing them to needlessly overpay for their prescription.
“Gag clauses take the power away from patients and forces them to pay more,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Eliminating gag clauses lets patients know the true cost of drugs and save money. I look forward to the president signing this legislation into law.”
Pharmacy gag clauses forbid pharmacists from proactively telling consumers if their prescription would cost less if they paid for it out of pocket rather than using their insurance plan. Pharmacists who disobey these clauses face significant penalties.
Cassidy is currently leading a bipartisan effort to increase price transparency in health care, and unveiled a nine-page white paper of ideas to make health care affordable again that specifically addressed the issue of gag clauses and decreasing drug costs for patients (page 7).