WASHINGTON – Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) introduced bipartisan legislation today to ensure pharmacists are able to advise patients when there may be a better, more affordable out-of-pocket alternative to what is covered by their insurance plan.
Currently, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) are able to include requirements in contracts that prevent pharmacists from providing advice to their patients on the best and cheapest out-of-pocket alternatives to medications covered under insurance. This is commonly known as a gag clause. Pharmacists can be legally penalized, or barred, from PBM contracts because they have notified their patients of cheaper out-of-pocket alternatives.
Carter’s legislation, the Prescription Transparency Act, nullifies and prohibits these gag clause provisions. This will allow pharmacists to properly advise their patients and help guide them to the most affordable and best option.
“As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, there were many times when I was prevented from telling my patients that there was a cheaper option because of a gag clause,” said Carter. “There is no reason pharmacists should not be able to talk to patients about what is best for them. Many times, my patients were senior citizens who had to choose between groceries and their prescription. These patients need and deserve the most affordable options. I introduced this legislation today to help make sure pharmacists are able to make that happen. This is an important step in our mission to lower prescription drug prices for Americans.”
“We salute Representatives Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) for their efforts to help patients get the best price for their prescription drugs,” said National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. “Clearly, pharmacists should be able to advise patients about the lowest-cost ways to access their medications. The Prescription Transparency Act of 2018 will assure that they can.”
“APhA appreciates bringing forth this legislation to empower pharmacists to increase patients’ access to more affordable and cost-effective medicines,” said the American Pharmacists Association. “For years pharmacists have been frustrated by policies that restrict their inability to help their patients lower their medication costs.”
Original cosponsors include: Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.), and Austin Scott (R-Ga.).