PA Auditor General applauds action on bill to stop gag clauses


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Auditor General Eugene DePasquale applauded the General Assembly on Wednesday for sending House Bill 943 to the governor’s desk.

The bill would prevent pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from imposing gag clauses on pharmacists. Gag clauses could result in consumers paying more for their prescriptions.

According to a media release, the nation’s three largest PBMs report billions of dollars in annual revenues. DePasquale said that Pennsylvania taxpayers paid $2.86 billion to PBMs for services provided to Medicaid enrollees in 2017 alone. He said that there is too little transparency in how PBMs operate.

As I’ve warned for years, gag clauses ultimately prevent pharmacists from giving customers practical advice on how to save money on their prescriptions. In some cases, consumers might save money by paying cash instead of using their insurance – but gag clauses stop pharmacists from volunteering that helpful advice unless a customer specifically ask.

Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania Auditor General

DePasquale called for action in January on legislation to prohibit gas clauses. A separate bill would give the Auditor General the ability to review contracts between PBMs and managed care organizations, which is still awaiting action in the PA Senate.

In many communities, independent pharmacies are where many residents turn first for health care. When small pharmacies close, consumers pay the price.

Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania Auditor General

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