News Releases

NCPA CEO's Statement on Senate Passage of S.2554

by NCPA | Sep 18, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sept. 18, 2018)Last night, the U.S. Senate passed S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, supported by the National Community Pharmacists Association. Following is the statement of NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA:

"As trusted healthcare providers whose aim is to get and keep patients well, pharmacists should be free to properly advise their patients about medication costs. That cost – even an insurance co-pay – can often be an impediment to patient access and adherence. Empowering pharmacists to discuss out-of-pocket payment alternatives with patients on private insurance, as S. 2554 does, may reveal lower-cost options. Helping patients know their alternatives increases the chances they can afford their medications – and that they will take them as they should and refill them when necessary.

"NCPA cheers the Senate's passage of S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, legislation that will prohibit so-called 'gag clauses' in private health plans. Just as S. 2553, the Know the Lowest Price Act, passed by the Senate last week, prohibits so-called 'gag clauses' in Medicare Part D plans, the legislation passed last night applies that prohibition to plans offered through the exchanges and by private employers.

"We're grateful to U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and her co-sponsors for their leadership on S. 2554 and look forward to working with her and others to send legislation prohibiting so-called 'gag clauses' to President Trump for his signature."

Legislation prohibiting gag clauses in Medicare and private plans passed the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee last Thursday and could be voted on by the full House as early as next week. Following House passage, the two chambers will reconcile these pieces of legislation to vote on its ultimate passage.

Additionally, the Senate last night also passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act, a package of bills aimed at combating the ongoing opioid epidemic. The package includes NCPA-supported provisions to help pharmacists be able to care for patients, and follows passage in the House of Representatives of its own opioid package earlier this year. The next step will likely be a conference committee of policymakers from the House and the Senate tasked with reconciling the differences between the two bills.

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Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing 22,000 pharmacies that employ 250,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America's most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit www.ncpanet.org.