From Kaiser Health, Oct. 10, and news services: On Oct. 10, President Trump signed two bills that ban “gag order” clauses in contracts between pharmacies and insurance companies or PBMs. Ronna Hauser, vice president of payment policy and regulatory affairs at the National Community Pharmacists Association, says many members of her group "say a PBM will call them with a warning if they are telling patients it’s less expensive" without insurance. Now that legislation affecting commercial insurance contracts has been signed, gag order provisions will immediately be prohibited, according to a spokesman for Sen. Susan Collins, who co-authored the bill. Another bill affecting Medicare beneficiaries will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2020.
Under the new legislation, pharmacists will not be required to tell patients about the lower cost option. If they do not, it is up to the customer to ask. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), a pharmacist who sponsored the Medicare gag order bill, says he is not surprised by the bipartisan support for the legislation. "High prescription drug costs affect everyone,” he said. The votes on these bills were nearly unanimous in both the Senate and House.