Brown’s Bills Crack Down on Gag Clauses that Force Customers to Pay More for Medication
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Trump signed U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) bipartisan bills to help Ohioans save money on their medication at the pharmacy counter into law. The Senate passed both of Brown’s bills by wide bipartisan margins.
“Corporations try to squeeze every last penny out of patients, even going so far as to ban pharmacists from giving their customers information on how to save money,” said Brown. “These bills are important, bipartisan steps we can take right now to crack down on big pharma hiding information from customers.”
Brown’s bill, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, cracks down on the outrageous gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers how to save money by paying out of pocket for medicines rather than going through insurance.
The bill is a follow up to Brown’s Know the Lowest Price Act, which passed the Senate last month. That bill would prohibit Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans from restricting a pharmacy’s ability to provide drug price information when there is a difference between the cost of the drug under the plan and the cost of the drug when purchased without insurance.
Brown visited Discount Drug Mart in Lakewood last month and stood with northeast Ohio pharmacist Joe Muha to discuss why this legislation is important for pharmacists and patients.
“As pharmacists, we want to do everything possible to help patients. Removing these restrictions that prevent us from saving customers money on their medications is an important step in the right direction, and we’re grateful to Sen. Brown and his colleagues in the Senate for passing this bill. We’ll continue pushing for measures that serve patients and help customers,” said Pete Ratycz, Pharmacist and Senior Vice President of Pharmacy for Discount Drug Mart.
Many customers have no idea that they could pay less for their prescription if they paid out of pocket rather than using their insurance at the pharmacy counter. That’s because many pharmacists are prohibited from telling their customers that a prescription to treat diabetes or high blood pressure may cost only $8 out of pocket instead of $20 through insurance coverage. One 2018 report found that customers overpaid for prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter 23% of the time. And many pharmacists are frustrated that they can’t help their customers save money.