PITTSBURGH – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar and Paul Mango, chief principal deputy administrator and chief of staff in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of the Administrator, today visited Spartan Pharmacy in Pittsburgh as part of ongoing efforts to highlight President Trump’s signing into law legislation to ban so-called “gag clauses.” Azar and Mango held a roundtable discussion at the pharmacy with National Community Pharmacists Association member Adam Rice and Kevin McCaffrey, Spartan Pharmacy’s owners, and Erich Cushey, NCPA member and owner of Curtis Pharmacy in Washington, Pa. and Claysville, Pa. Also attending was Karry La Violette, NCPA’s senior vice president of government affairs and director of the NCPA Advocacy Center, as well as several patients from the Pittsburgh area.
“Banning so-called ‘gag clauses’ is a good step for patients in need of relief when picking up their prescriptions at the pharmacy counter,” said La Violette. “We appreciate Secretary Azar’s kind words about NCPA’s efforts to move forward the ban on ‘gag clauses,’ and commend the administration for its ongoing work to tackle the high cost of prescription drugs. There’s plenty more to do in terms of lowering drug costs, increasing transparency, and streamlining the prescription drug payment model, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with champions of community pharmacy on these and other important issues.”
With several community pharmacists among the invited guests, President Trump this week signed into law S. 2553, the Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018, and S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which give community pharmacists more flexibility in informing patients they could pay less out of pocket for a prescription than by using their health insurance.