SPRINGFIELD — Missouri House Bill 1542 would remove “gag orders” for pharmacists on cost-saving options for patients.
A lawmaker from the Ozarks is looking to ban “gag orders” at pharmacies statewide.
Those “gag orders” that are currently in place prevent pharmacists from telling customers about ways they could cut costs on their prescriptions.
They are common between insurance companies and pharmacies, and only five states have them banned, but Missouri could soon be following suit.
While pharmacists can tell you about your prescription, this bill would ease restrictions on what pharmacists cannot tell you about.: ways to save money on your prescription.
State Representative Lynn Morris is working to pass Missouri House Bill 1542, which would ban “gag orders”. As a pharmacist himself, Morris explains how customers are currently left out in the cold on pricing options.
“No one really realizes what is happening in the pharmacy world,” Morris explains. “You stand there and you look at those people and tell them all about their medications and give them good advice. The one thing you would like to tell them about is the cost, but you can’t do that. But if they would ask you, then yes you can legally do that.”
Morris, who is the owner of Family Pharmacy, says this restriction usually comes from an agreement between pharmacies and insurance companies.
“We are not allowed by a contract that we signed, and if you don’t sign it, you can’t participate in any of their insurance programs,” Morris explains.
With gag orders currently in place, you won’t hear a money saving suggestion from a pharmacist about paying out-of-pocket versus paying co-pay.
Gary Potts is a Pharmacy Manager for Family Pharmacy in Springfield. He explains why many times out-of-pocket is a better option for people.
“Their co-pay might $15, $20, or $30, but the cash price of those prescriptions may be even less than that,” Potts says.
As the law stands now, there is only one way for pharmacists to tell you about those money saving options, and that is if you ask.
Morris says that doesn’t happen very often.
“We have so many prescriptions honestly that just cost a few dollars,” Morris says. “All of those would be sold cheaper to a patient if we could talk to them about prescription prices and right now we can’t. This bill would fix it to where we can do that, and I think every customer would want you to do that.”