Lawmakers have sights on middlemen blamed for rising drug costs

Congressional lawmakers are moving to ban "gag clauses" that prohibit pharmacies from telling customers they can save money on a drug if they pay with cash instead of using their health insurance.

Congressional lawmakers are moving to ban "gag clauses" that prohibit pharmacies from telling customers they can save money on a drug if they pay with cash instead of using their health insurance. "Pharmacists want to be able to give their consumers information about what's the best way to buy the medication they need, but the gag rule prohibits the pharmacists from doing that," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), cosponsor of a House bill that would ban gag clauses. "Prohibiting PBM 'gag clauses' will empower pharmacists to inform patients of lower prescription price options and help improve price transparency. Our members always want to assist their patients in receiving the affordable medications they need," APhA said in a statement. Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), would ban such clauses. The Collins bill is expected to come up for a committee vote on June 20. A spokesperson for Carter said the congressman is still continuing to push for a hearing and building member support.