Millions Of Americans Have Been Overpaying For Prescriptions, But Pharmacists Can Fix That Now

A man dropping a single pill from a prescription jar in his hand

For years you could have been unfairly paying high prescription drug prices without realizing it. Your pharmacist might have known, but they might have been legally unable to inform you.

Thanks to recently signed legislation, that’s finally changing.

Contracts between pharmacies and pharmaceutical benefit managers formerly had some patient unfriendly rules. For instance, in some cases, pharmacists were not allowed to discuss purchasing options with consumers.

For example, some drugs are cheaper if you pay out of pocket instead of through insurance. If this was the case, your pharmacist would not be able to tell you.

These “gag clauses” prompted at least 26 states to enact legislation against them before the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act were signed.

Susan Collins (R-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) initially sponsored the bills and they received bipartisan support in Congress earlier this year.

But you still need to do your research before going to the drug store. Just because pharmacists can give you new information, that doesn’t exactly mean they have to. Make sure you come prepared with questions to ensure you get the best price.

What Was The Cost Of Gag Clauses? 

The University of Southern California’s Center for Health Policy and Economics sought to find out just how much prescription overpayments cost consumers.

They studied nearly 10 million claims and found that 23% of consumers overpaid. Overall that added up to more than $16 million in overpayments.

According to Joyce Rogers, the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for AARP, this new legislation will lower costs and limit overpayments “by allowing pharmacists to inform patients about all of the prices available to them when they purchase needed medications.”

Prescription drug prices have been steadily rising over the past few years, so this legislation is a great step forward to keep Americans healthier physically and financially.

See also: HealthyWage Review: How These Women Got Paid to Achieve Their Health Goals