CLEVELAND, OH – Last week, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited pharmacies in the Mahoning Valley, Cincinnati, and Columbus after President Trump signed Brown’s bipartisan bills to help Ohioans save money on their medication at the pharmacy counter into law.
Brown’s bill, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, cracks down on the outrageous gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers how to save money by paying out of pocket for medicines rather than going through insurance.
The bill is a follow up to Brown’s Know the Lowest Price Act, which passed the Senate last month. That bill would prohibit Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans from restricting a pharmacy’s ability to provide drug price information when there is a difference between the cost of the drug under the plan and the cost of the drug when purchased without insurance.
Here's what they’re saying about Brown’s bills:
“U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined Rick Carano, a pharmacist at Village Pharmacy in New Middletown, today after President Donald Trump signed the senator’s bills to help people save money on their medication at the pharmacy counter into law.
“‘Corporations try to squeeze every last penny out of patients, even going so far as to ban pharmacists from giving their customers information on how to save money,’ said Brown, a Cleveland Democrat. ‘These bills are important, bipartisan steps we can take right now to crack down on big pharma hiding information from customers.”’
“Carano said the whole drug supply chain was a mess, calling it a seriously broken healthcare system. But he was pleased to know that he will now be allowed to tell his customers when a less expensive option is available.
“‘I feel like the first step is being taken to allow me to serve the health of my community rather than the financial health of the insurance companies and the pharmacy benefit managers,’ Carano said.”
“‘According to the news release, Brown's bill, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, cracks down on the outrageous gag clauses that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers how to save money by paying out of pocket for medicines rather than going through insurance.
“The release informed that the bill is a follow up to Brown's Know the Lowest Price Act, which passed the Senate last month.
“That bill would prohibit Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans from restricting a pharmacy's ability to provide drug price information when there is a difference between the cost of the drug under the plan and the cost of the drug when purchased without insurance.”
“The bipartisan law helps Ohioans save money on their medications and educates them about going through insurance, instead of paying out of pocket.
“‘We know that this will save money for patients. It will help to build the relationship that is already strong between the neighborhood pharmacist like Hart Pharmacy and their patients that come in,’ said Brown.
“One 2018 report found that customers overpaid for prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter 23 percent of the time. And many pharmacists are frustrated they cannot help their customers save money.”
“Brown visited Hart Pharmacy in Cincinnati and stood with pharmacist Mimi Hart to discuss why this legislation is important for pharmacists and patients.
“‘The pharmacists of the nation are grateful to lawmakers for making it possible for us to offer our patients the best prices for their medications without fear of losing our insurance contracts. The gag clause was a hindrance to taking care of our communities to the best of our abilities,’ said Hart.
“‘Many customers have no idea that they could pay less for their prescription if they paid out of pocket rather than using their insurance at the pharmacy counter,’ stated the release. ‘That’s because many pharmacists are prohibited from telling their customers that a prescription to treat diabetes or high blood pressure may cost only $8 out of pocket instead of $20 through insurance coverage.’”
“Every day, pharmacist Aaron Clark of Equitas Pharmacy in the Short North must bite his tongue and disregard what’s best for his customers.
“That’s because so-called gag rules imposed by pharmacy middlemen prohibit him from telling customers how they could save money on many prescriptions by paying out of pocket instead of using their health insurance.
“‘Sometimes it will be a couple of dollars savings, but sometimes it will be a $60 or $70 savings,’ Clark said.
“A bill sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and signed into law last week by President Donald Trump immediately outlaws such gag clauses, allowing consumers untold savings. The legislation expands on a similar bill in Ohio’s legislature that has been passed only by the House.”