New bill could mean cheaper prescriptions

National News

Congress passed a bill banning so-called “gag rules” that keep pharmacists from telling you how to save money on some prescriptions.

Jessica Smith has the details from Washington.

Right now, some pharmacists are not allowed to tell patients about cheaper ways to pay for their prescription drugs.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow says Michigan pharmacists told her about the problem.

“They were being asked to sign contracts in order to get prescription drugs for their customers that included gag clauses,” said  Senator Stabenow. “They were very upset about that.”

The “gag clauses” allow insurers or middlemen that negotiate with drug companies to ban pharmacists from telling patients about certain ways to save money.

“They can’t tell patient if they just paid out of pocket for a drug it would cost them less than if they used their insurance,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The Senate passed the bill 98 to two.

Azar said banning gag clauses has been a top priority in the Trump Administration.

“We found that unconscionable we acted immediately in the Medicare program to make it clear that was unconscionable and impermissible,” said Azar.

President Trump tweeted about the issue last month, saying, “I support legislation that will remove gag clauses and urge the Senate to act.”

The bill is now on his desk, awaiting his signature.

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