HARRISBURG — Legislation that would increase transparency and consumer choice in the prescription drug marketplace now awaits Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature to become law, according to Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny), the bill’s prime sponsor.
House Bill 943
would end the long-standing “gag clause” imposed on pharmacists, barring them from informing customers of lower-cost alternatives at the pharmacy counter.
“People have a right to affordable health care and to get the best price possible for their prescription drugs. Oftentimes, there are several inexpensive, generic medicines for which an insurance co-pay can often be more expensive than if the patient simply pays out-of-pocket, bypassing their insurance company altogether,” said Gaydos. “I have personally heard from many pharmacists in my district who want to help their customers find low-cost alternatives, but they are unfortunately forbidden from doing so.”
Such a prohibition stems from language contained in some pharmacy contracts that disallows pharmacists from disclosing any information to their customers that could potentially reduce their out-of-pocket costs for medications.
“My legislation would remove this mandate and would empower pharmacists to tell their customers everything they need to know in order to make an informed purchasing decision,” Gaydos continued. “Especially now, we in the Legislature should be doing everything we can to help our constituents have access to affordable medications.”
House Bill 943 passed in a final vote of 201-0 on Tuesday.
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michael Plummer