Oct. 10, 2018
Trump’s So-Called Medicine ‘Gag Clause’ Ban Barely Scratches the Surface for Consumers in Need of Relief
Statement of Steven Knievel, Access to Medicines Advocate, Public Citizen
Note: This afternoon, President Donald Trump is expected to sign two bills into law intended to lower patients’ prescription costs: S. 2553 and S. 2554. The bills would prohibit health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from including so-called “gag clauses” in contracts with pharmacies. The clauses ban pharmacists from notifying patients when they could pay less for medicines without using their health insurance than they would for their copayment.
Patients and consumers should take President Trump’s words with a strong dose of skepticism.
Today at his signing ceremony, the president likely will claim victory and argue that he’s delivering relief that he promised to those who are struggling to afford their medicines. While these gag clause prohibitions will provide modest relief to some patients, for most they will have no impact whatsoever. They do absolutely nothing to address the underlying problem of prescription corporations charging exorbitant, unfair rates that put medicines out of reach of patients.
The approach from the Trump administration and Congress so far has been like repairing a leaky faucet above while gallons of water spill from a pipe bursting below.
Trump and Congress must change course and advance real solutions that patients need by leveraging government negotiating power, stopping price spikes and curbing pharma’s monopoly abuses.