Elmira, N.Y. (WENY) - The New York legislature has passed a bill preventing clawbacks and gag orders, two practices that have been questioned in the midst of rising prices of prescription drugs. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Frank Steed, a pharmacist at Gerould's Pharmacy in Elmira, says gag orders by insurance companies prevent pharmacies from being completely forthright with their customers. He says, "Those drug insurance companies prohibit the pharmacists or the pharmacy from telling the patient if that drug costs less money to the patient than what their co-pay, or what the drug company or drug insurance company, wants them to pay."
For that reason, a customer would be unaware if a prescription would cost less money if they paid out of pocket.
The bill would also eliminate another practice known as clawbacks. Steed says, "So the clawback is a process of which the drug company comes back to the pharmacy and says after a prescription has been filled and the pharmacy has agreed on the amount of payment to accept, the insurance company is coming back somewhere between 3 and 6 months later stating that we're going to take back a percentage of the cost of the drug or a flat rate of ten dollars."
According to Steed, pharmacies were filling prescriptions assuming they were going to be paid appropriately, only to find out that money was going back to the insurance companies.
Without the gag orders or clawbacks, pharmacies can be more open with their customers. Steed says, "What it's going to do is it is going to allow us to converse with the customer, and allow us to present to the customer the most economical way for them to obtain their prescription."