ATAP President Featured in Louisiana's The Advocate, Sen. Cassidy Reacts
The U.S. Senate and House have both, almost unanimously passed a ban on “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from advising customers on the best and cheapest out of pocket alternatives to medication covered by insurance. While Democrats and Republicans remain deeply opposed on Obamacare and broader health care issues, this area of bipartisan agreement has emerged amid historic political turmoil.
If 2018 has taught nothing else, it’s that Republicans and Democrats are as far away from each other on major policy issues than any time before in modern political history. With nearly every major piece of legislation or appointment coming down to party lines, it’s refreshing to see the Congress act so decisively on a commonsense fix. The Senate passed Bill Cassidy’s bipartisan “Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act” 98-2 and the House passed it by a voice vote. President Donald Trump has also repeatedly stated his support for the legislation on Twitter and during his rallies.
Americans spend more per capita on prescription drugs than any other high-income country in the world. One factor contributing to the enormous price of drugs is the “gag clauses” in the contracts created by Pharmacy Benefit Managers that Bill Cassidy directly targets in his co-sponsored bill. PBM’s work as the third-party administrators for commercial health plans and a variety of health benefit programs. By voting for the ban of this gag clause, Congress is enacting policy that provides increased transparency and control over the prescription drugs their constituents need, and a cheaper alternative to those who can’t afford it.
The Alliance for Transparent and Affordable Prescriptions has been working to educate legislators and regulators on a federal and state level about PBMs and the prescription drug market. We are actively promoting legislation and regulatory change to accomplish this goal. Our membership includes medical provider and patient advocacy groups. Our main goal is to increase access to affordable medications, thereby increasing access to care. We realize the PBM industry created the gag clause in their contracts with pharmacies to unfairly increase profits to PBMs, harming patients. This legislation makes this practice illegal.
This positive legislation is exactly what the citizens of the United States need to lower costs and increase access to necessary medicines. We are proud to support this commonsense legislation and can only hope that this is the start of a new trend of at least fixing the most obvious problems on a bipartisan basis.
Dr. Robert Levin
President, Alliance for Transparent and Affordable Prescriptions