No More Pharmacy ‘Gag Clauses’ as Two More McCaskill Bills Signed into Law by President Trump

Senator’s bipartisan bills to prohibit pharmacy gag clauses will prevent Missourians from paying more than necessary for their prescriptions

WASHINGTON Pharmacy “gag clauses” that can prevent pharmacists from telling customers that they could pay less for their prescription if they pay out of pocket are now prohibited after President Donald Trump today signed into law two bipartisan pieces of legislation from U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill that end the practice.

“Earlier this year, I heard from a woman who was shocked when she found out she could get her mother’s prescription for less if she paid out of pocket than through insurance—and was even more upset her pharmacist was prohibited from telling her that was possible,” said McCaskill, referencing an exchange from her healthcare roundtable earlier this year in St. Louis. “After months of hard, bipartisan work including support from the President, I’m proud to report back to her and so many other Missourians struggling to pay for their prescriptions, that pharmacy gag clauses are finally a thing of the past.”

Click HERE to watch a video from McCaskill on her work to end gag clauses.

Last month, the Congress passed McCaskill’s Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which prohibits gag clauses in individual market and group-based insurance plans, as well as companion legislation, the Know the Lowest Price Act, to prohibit gag clauses in Medicare Part D. Combined, these actions will give Missourians wide-ranging protections from this practice. McCaskill, along with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, led the push to prohibit this practice.

Many customers have no idea that they could pay less for their prescription if they pay out of pocket rather than using their insurance at the pharmacy counter, because pharmacists can be prohibited from telling their customers that a prescription to treat diabetes or high blood pressure may cost only $8 out of pocket instead of $20 through insurance coverage. One 2018 report found that customers overpaid for prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter 23% of the time.

McCaskill has made tackling rising healthcare and prescription drug costs a top priority in the Senate. McCaskill recently released an investigative report that showed that drug prices directly negotiated by the government could save the Medicare Part D program $2.8 billion in a single year on the 20 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs alone. Bipartisan legislation backed by McCaskill to allow the sale of certain types of hearing aids over the counter—increasing access and lowering costs for Missouri’s seniors—was signed into law last year. Additionally, during her time as the top Democrat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, McCaskill joined Senator Collins to launch an in-depth investigation into prescription drug price increases, and last year, President Trump signed into law the Senators’ bipartisan legislation to increase competition for generic drugs and help lower prescription costs.

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/healthcare to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to improve healthcare for Missourians.

###