WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Trump signed two bills into law on Wednesday that seek to make it easier for you to get the best deal on your prescriptions.
Moments after the signing at the White House, we spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about the new laws.
“It lowers the cost to the patient,” Azar said. “So it makes the drugs more affordable for the patient when they’re at the pharmacy, which of course is the single most important thing for a patient – what am I paying out of pocket? So this does, in fact, lower that.”
The two new laws, the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, ban what’s known as a ‘gag order’ in the pharmaceutical industry, which has prohibited pharmacists from helping customers figure out if a prescription would be cheaper by paying for it with cash or through an insurance plan.
The gag orders were often included in contracts between pharmacies and the insurance companies they work with, or the middle man that negotiates those deals.
Now they are banned at the federal level, for both the commercial drug industry and Medicare.
Though the new laws do not lower the actual cost of prescriptions, Azar said customers will see a difference in how much they spend at the pharmacy.
It’s important to note that the new laws do not require pharmacists to bring up that they can help you determine what’s cheaper. It’s up to you to ask about it if your pharmacist doesn’t initiate the conversation.