July 25, 2018

Senator Hassan Votes to Approve Bipartisan Measure to Prohibit “Pharmacy Gag Clauses” That Cause Consumers to Pay Higher Prices for Prescription Drugs in Senate Health Committee

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, today voted to advance a bipartisan measure to prohibit so-called “pharmacy gag clauses” that conceal prices from patients and cause many consumers to pay higher prices for prescription drugs.

The bipartisan Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which was led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), would prohibit health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from using pharmacy gag clauses. These clauses forbid pharmacists from proactively telling consumers if their prescription would cost less if they paid for it out of pocket rather than using their insurance plan, and pharmacists who disobey these clauses can face significant penalties.

“There is simply no excuse for preventing pharmacists from telling you if there’s a cheaper way to buy the prescription drugs you need,” Senator Hassan said. “While there is far more work to do to hold big pharmaceutical companies accountable and address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, this bill is a commonsense step we can take right now to help prevent consumers from being needlessly overcharged for their medications.” 

Senator Hassan has a record of taking on big pharmaceutical companies and fighting to lower drug prices for consumers. Last year, she joined her colleagues in introducing the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act, which would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring much-needed relief to families and seniors. The Senator also pushed back on the drug giant Allergan in response to their shady practices to stifle competition. Additionally, last month, during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, Senator Hassan called out the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, for claiming that the Trump Administration is concerned about lowering prescription drug prices while also seeking to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which would lead many Americans to lose health insurance coverage and, in turn, force them to pay more for prescription drugs.

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