New Laws Lift Restrictions on Pharmacist-Patient Communications About Drug Pricing
ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP, today is attending a White House ceremony to commemorate the signing of S. 2553 and S. 2554, the “Know the Lowest Price Act” and “Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act,” respectively.
The new laws prohibit health plans from restricting pharmacists from informing their patients that a covered drug would be less expensive if the patient paid out of pocket. S. 2553 prohibits Medicare Part D and Medicare advantage plans from such restrictions, while S. 2554 prohibits any health plan group or individual from restricting pharmacists from informing their patients. Prior to passage, pharmacy benefit managers could prevent pharmacists from informing their patients that a drug would be less expensive if they paid out of pocket. This practice was known as the pharmacy “gag clause” and is now prohibited by the new laws.
“ASHP, independently and as a lead member of the Steering Committee of the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, has long advocated for measures that would improve transparency in drug pricing,” said Dr. Abramowitz. “We applaud Congress and the President for enacting legislation that will help pharmacists identify less expensive alternatives for their patients.”
ASHP expressed support for the removal of the gag clause in meetings with both Senate and House staff and in comments to the Administration Drug Pricing Blueprint released earlier this year.
The ceremony will be livestreamed on https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/ at 1:30 p.m.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Video of the bill signing event is now available here.
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s 45,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For more than 75 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.SafeMedication.com.