New law lifts “gag clause” on prescription prices

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A new law is in effect that could save patients money the next time they need a prescription filled.

President Donald Trump signed the law last week lifting so-called "gag-clauses" that prevented pharmacists from sharing certain information with their customers.

Pharmacy consultant Ashley Dohrn, Pharm.D., BCGP, said the clauses placed in contracts between pharmacies and insurance companies or pharmacy benefit managers barred pharmacists from having discussions about price.

She said the biggest impact of the new law would be improving transparency for patients.

"We are always looking to provide generic alternatives for medications if possible, often at a lower cost, and I think that's why this has been such a big concern," she said. "We weren't able to have these open conversations."

Davenport retiree Jim Schlichting said that he and his wife would welcome the new law lifting the restrictions.

"You do the same when you buy a car or something," he said. "You say, 'can I get a better price?' You know, 'what's the bottom line?' And I think that's great that you can do that now.

However, the new law doesn't obligate pharmacists to tell patients that a cheaper option exists.

That's why, Dohrn says, it's important to speak with your pharmacist.

"Ask your pharmacist," she said. "Say, 'hey I know my copay is 20 dollars for this. Is it possible that I can get this for less from you?'"