Friday, January 12, 2018

Maryland Group Challenges Pharmacist Gag Clause on Drug Costs

The Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative Education Fund recently announced that state legislators are pursuing the elimination of a gag clause that prevents pharmacists from alerting patients in instances when they can pay less for a prescription drug by not using insurance, according to a press release.

If the legislation passes, pharmacies would be able to bypass a controversial rule that is often included in contracts with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Thus far, Connecticut, Maine, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Georgia have all banned this practice, according to the release.

“It is this problem of pharmacists being prohibited from telling people that the price is lower from out-of-pocket insurance price,” said Vinny DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

The advocacy group said that the problem with the gag clause is that a patient may be able to pay much less for a drug without using insurance. Due to contract restrictions, pharmacists are unable to inform their patient about this option, according to the release.

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