McMorris Rodgers Statement on Ending Gag Clauses For Lower Costs of Prescription Drugs

Sep 25, 2018 | COMMUNICATIONS •

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement after the House passed the Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2554) and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2553). The Chair was an original cosponsor of similar legislation in the House that passed the Energy and Commerce Committee on September 13, 2018. These bills will ban gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from informing patients when the cash price for their prescription costs less than their insurance cost-sharing arrangement.

“I am pleased to see the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act pass today. I am an original sponsor of similar legislation, the Know the Cost Act, to ban gag clauses. Gag clauses prevent pharmacists from informing patients when the cash price for their prescription is less expensive than their insurance cost-sharing arrangement, unless the patient directly asks. As a result, patients may be unknowingly paying more for prescription drugs.

“In addition to supporting these solutions, I have long advocated for more transparency surrounding Pharmacy Benefit Managers and believe that patients should have the information necessary to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

“If our pharmacists, health insurance issuers, and PBMs have access to the cost of our prescriptions, so should our patients.”

Note: The Chair has also led in other areas to help bring down the cost of prescription drugs. McMorris Rodgers is also an original cosponsor of H.R. 1316, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, a bill to require greater transparency from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).

PBMs are the middlemen that employers and federal programs use to set prescription drug prices for consumers on their health plans. PBMs often fail to explain the process for setting these prices, and while they claim to deliver cost savings by passing along rebates to federal programs, the lack of transparency surrounding PBMs makes it impossible to track these alleged savings. H.R. 1316 would protect taxpayers and health care consumers by requiring greater transparency from PBMs.