News Releases

NCPA Statement on Senate "Gag Clause" Bills

by NCPA | Mar 15, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 15, 2018) — The National Community Pharmacists Association applauded the introduction of two bipartisan bills in the U.S. Senate that address the challenge of pharmacists being constrained from helping patients find the best price for their prescription drugs.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced the Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018, which allows pharmacists to tell Medicare Part D beneficiaries if the cash price for a prescription drug is lower than the price through their insurance coverage. In addition, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which applies the same principles as the other bill to plans covered under the Affordable Care Act health care exchanges and ERISA plans provided by private employers.

"Some practices of pharmacy benefit managers can inhibit the ability of pharmacists to assist patients in finding the lowest price for prescription drugs," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. "Thanks to this bipartisan effort, led by Sens. Collins and Stabenow, these two bills will enable pharmacists to inform patients who are insured under a variety of health plans of their best options."

Hoey added, "This issue is symptomatic of a broader problem related to anticompetitive PBM practices, which lack transparency, add cost and endanger patient access to pharmacy services. We encourage Congress to continue their focus on reforming the drug middlemen. NCPA is ready to assist those efforts in any way possible."

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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $80 billion health care marketplace and employ more than 250,000 individuals on a full- or part-time basis. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.