On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed two bills that may make prescription drugs more affordable. Combined, the two bills promote greater disclosure when it comes to drug prices by preventing “gag clauses” in agreements between pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies that hinder pharmacists’ ability to reveal cheaper options to consumers.
“It’s way out of whack. It’s way too high,” said Trump when discussing drug pricing at the signing of the bills. “You look at prices in our country and for the exact same drug in other countries, it’s much lower — made in the same plant by the same company — and I said, ‘What’s going on?'”
For many consumers, anticipating the cost of their medications is challenging, particularly since they can vary dramatically from one pharmacy to the next, and price differences between prescriptions that achieve similar results are hard to discover.
Trump stated, “Now, they’ll be able to see pricing and they’ll be able to see where they should go and as they start leaving certain pharmacies, those pharmacies will be dropping their prices.”
According to a report by NBC News, Trump has previously accused pharmaceutical companies of “getting away with murder,” when it comes to their pricing.
The gag clauses that impact pharmacists prevent them from discussing lower-cost alternative drugs as well as informing customers that their medications may be cheaper out-of-pocket if they don’t use their insurance during a purchase and pay in cash instead.
“This is very strong legislation to end these unjust gag clauses once and for all,” said Trump.
Under the new bills, pharmacists won’t be prevented from discussing lower-cost options, though they aren’t required to broach the topic either.
Steve Hoffart, a Magnolia, Texas, pharmacist praised the legislation for untying their hands, calling it a victory for consumers.
“It’s a big win for patients,” said Hoffart. “It’s a big win for patients in terms of allowing pharmacists to openly discuss medication prices to save patient money and health care costs.”