New bill will help lower out-of-pocket drug costs.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) praised the U.S. Senate’s passage last evening of the Patient Right to Know Prices Act (S. 2554). The bill would help patients in private plans save money on prescription drugs by ending so-called “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling patients they could save money by paying cash out-of-pocket instead of using their insurance benefit.
NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said, “NACDS appreciates the growing momentum behind this important legislation. In a national survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, 83% of voters said pharmacists provide credible advice for saving money on prescription drugs. This important legislation removes communication barriers, in the form of gag clauses, and allows pharmacists to communicate even more key information to patients that can help to reduce out-of-pocket costs.”
The Senate’s passage of S. 2554 represents the most recent progress on this important issue. This action follows the Senate’s September 4 passage of similar legislation – the Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2553), which would prohibit “gag clauses” in pharmacists’ interactions with Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage patients.
Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME) is the lead sponsor of S. 2554 and an original co-sponsor of S. 2553. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, Mich.) is the lead sponor of S. 2553 and an original co-sponsor of S. 2554. Serving as original co-sponsors of both bills are: Sen. John Barrasso (R, Wyo.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R, La.), and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D, Mont.). In addition, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is an original cosponsor of S. 2553.
Legislation that has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) in the U.S. House of Representatives – the Know the Cost Act (H.R. 6733) – applies to both Medicare and private insurance. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce passed that legislation on September 13.
NACDS’ engagement on drug-pricing issues is a key aspect of the NACDS “Access Agenda.” The Access Agenda platform is rooted in the concept that just as pharmacies provide access to better healthcare every day, they also stand ready to provide access to health policy solutions that are rooted in experiences on the front lines of care.
More information about drug-pricing issues is available in an NACDS issue brief.