U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), released the following statement after the Senate unanimously passed the Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2553), bipartisan legislation he helped introduce to increase health care price transparency by removing barriers that prevent patients from paying the lowest possible price for prescription drugs.
The bill prohibits health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from using “pharmacy gag clauses” to hide prices from patients at the pharmacy counter. These gag clauses forbid pharmacists from proactively telling consumers if their prescription would cost less if they paid for it out of pocket rather than using their insurance plan.
“Passing this bill and eliminating gag clauses gives patients more power to lower their health care costs,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It makes prices transparent so patients can save money with less expensive prescriptions.”
Cassidy is currently leading a bipartisan effort to increase price transparency in health care, andunveiled a nine-page white paper of ideas to make health care affordable again that specifically addressed the issue of gag clauses and decreasing drug costs for patients (page 7).
Cassidy and several colleagues introduced two bills in March to prohibit gag clauses. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554) would prohibit an insurer or pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) from restricting a pharmacy’s ability to provide drug price information to a plan enrollee when there is a difference between the cost of the drug under the plan and the cost of the drug when purchased without insurance. This bill would apply to plans offered through exchanges and by private employers. The Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2553) would provide the same protection as the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act for individuals who are covered by Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans.