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NCPA backs Senate's passage of Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act

The National Community Pharmacists Association, or NCPA, is showing its support for the Senate's recent passage of S.2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act.

“As trusted healthcare providers whose aim is to get and keep patients well, pharmacists should be free to properly advise their patients about medication costs. That cost — even an insurance co-pay — can often be an impediment to patient access and adherence,” NCPA's CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. “Empowering pharmacists to discuss out-of-pocket payment alternatives with patients on private insurance, as S. 2554 does, may reveal lower-cost options. Helping patients know their alternatives increases the chances they can afford their medications — and that they will take them as they should and refill them when necessary.”

Hoey also said that the legislation will prohibit so-called "gag clauses" in private health plans. “Just as S. 2553, the Know the Lowest Price Act, passed by the Senate last week, prohibits so-called "gag clauses" in Medicare Part D plans, the legislation passed last night applies that prohibition to plans offered through the exchanges and by private employers.”

Legislation prohibiting gag clauses in Medicare and private plans passed the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee last Thursday and could be voted on by the full House as early as next week. Following House passage, the two chambers will reconcile these pieces of legislation to vote on its ultimate passage.

“We're grateful to U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, and her co-sponsors for their leadership on S. 2554, and look forward to working with her and others to send legislation prohibiting so-called "gag clauses" to President Trump for his signature,” Hoey said.

Additionally, the Senate also passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act, a package of bills aimed at combating the ongoing opioid epidemic. The package includes NCPA-supported provisions to help pharmacists be able to care for patients, and follows passage in the House of Representatives of its own opioid package earlier this year. The next step will likely be a conference committee of policymakers from the House and the Senate tasked with reconciling the differences between the two bills, NCPA said.
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