Trump is pushing for a legislation to remove 'gag clauses' — here's what you need to know about them

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesU.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a Congressional Medal of Honour Society reception at the East Room of the White House September 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
  • President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to voice his support for a legislation that would ban “gag clauses” that limit the ability of pharmacists to tell consumers whether paying cash for drugs or through insurance would be cheaper.
  • A Senate vote on the bill is expected to happen on Monday.
  • Eliminating “gag clauses” is part of the Trump Administration’s blueprint to lower drug prices for US consumers.

The Trump Administration has been extremely vocal in the past about lowering drug prices. From trying to eliminate pharmacy benefit managers to calling out drug companies on Twitter, President Donald Trump has openly stated his grievances.

On Monday, President Trump highlighted in a tweet his support for legislation that will remove so-called “gag clauses” which limit the ability of pharmacists to tell consumers whether paying cash or through insurance would be cheaper. Such clauses make it harder for consumers to gauge how affordable a drug can be, and they can wind up overpaying.^tfw

In March, the US Senate introduced the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which would ban these type sof clauses. Individual states like Arkansas took matters into their own hands and have already banned them within the state. This effort makes Arkansas the first state to regulate pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen that issue drug rebates to employers and insurers.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has also announced that steps will be taken nationally to change up the roles and functions of PBMs to decrease the cost of drugs across the board. He has also voiced his support for the elimination of gag clauses.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Susan Collins, Claire McCaskill and Debbie Stabenow, is named “The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices” and would block insurers or PBMs from preventing pharmacists from openly discussing costs and alternatives with customers. The upper chamber is expected to vote on the bill on Monday.

The senate already passed a bill earlier this month that bans gag clauses in Medicare Advantage and Medicare “Part D” plans.

This is not the first time that Trump has criticised gag clauses. Speaking about his blueprint for lowering drug pricing in May, he called the gag rule a “total rip off” and said that his administration is going to end it.

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