New Laws Could Mean Cheaper Prescription Drugs

By:  Brea Douglas
Ozarks First

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--The cost of your prescription drugs could become less expensive.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed two bills into law.

These laws prevent "gag clauses", which could be costing patients a pretty penny at the pharmacy.

The "Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act" and the "Lowest Price Act" are bills sponsored by republican Sen. Susan Collins, democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow along with democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. 

The laws are designed to allow pharmacists to tell you when a drug is cheaper if paid out-of-pocket than through your insurance. Senator Claire McCaskill helped make this change when she met someone who didn't even know this was an option.

"Earlier this year, I heard from a woman who was shocked to find out that she could have gotten her mother's prescription for less than she paid if she had been told it was cheaper to buy it across the counter than to use her insurance, but the pharmacy was prohibited by a contract from telling her this so I went to work and we fixed it," says Sen. McCaskill.

Senator McCaskill went to work to fix what many people suffering from illnesses like diabetes didn't know and that is high blood pressure medication may only cost $8 out of pocket instead of $20 through insurance coverage. 

According to a 2018 health report by the University of Southern California, 23% of the time, customers overpaid for prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter.

 "I talked to republican senators, they agreed we all came together and passed legislation that will prohibit people from keeping the information from you you need," says Sen. McCaskill. 

On Wednesday, the legislation received bipartisan support with President Trump signing it into law.

 "The American people deserve a health care system that works for them not one that takes advantage of them. That's what's been happening, but we're changing that rapidly along with a very republican congress, I am delivering on my promise to lower drug prices and I really do believe that democrats want to do that too very much," says President Trump.

"I know prescription costs are too high and I'm going to continue to work to do everything I can to bring them down for Missouri families," says Sen. McCaskill. 

Before these bills were signed into law, the only way a pharmacist could tell you if your prescription was cheaper to pay out-of-pocket was if you asked them. 

Now they must volunteer that information to you before you make a final decision.