September 17, 2018

Senate Passes Second Cassidy-Cosponsored Bill to Help Patients Save Money on Prescriptions

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), released the following statement after the Senate passed by a vote of 98 – 2 the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554), bipartisan legislation he helped introduce to increase health care price transparency by removing barriers that prevent patients from paying the lowest possible price for prescription drugs. The bill prohibits health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from using “pharmacy gag clauses” to hide prices from patients at the pharmacy counter. These 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.

President Trump supported the legislation, and Cassidy spoke on the Senate floor today to urge his colleagues to support it. It’s the second anti-gag clause bill to pass the Senate this month. Last week, the Senate passed the Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2553), which protects patients covered by Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans from being hurt by gag clauses.

“Passing this bill and eliminating gag clauses gives patients more power to lower their health care costs,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It makes prices transparent so patients can save money with less expensive prescriptions.”

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), who also cosponsored the legislation, released the following statement.

“Currently, companies are allowed to include clauses in their insurance plans that prevent pharmacies from informing patients of cheaper prescription drug options,” said Sen. Kennedy. “These gag clauses are manipulative, and they take advantage of hardworking Americans who are simply trying to purchase their necessary prescriptions at the lowest cost.  This federal ban on pharmacy gag clauses will make our health care system more transparent and affordable, and it will help families and our seniors save money.”

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).