Reps. Porter, DeLauro Reintroduce Legislation to Protect Patients from Paying More for Drugs
Legislation would require pharmacies to disclose cheaper payment options to patients
Washington, April 14, 2021
Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) reintroduced legislation to better protect patients from exorbitant pharmaceutical prices. The Lowest Price for Patients Act, co-led by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), would require pharmacies to inform patients if it’s cheaper to purchase a drug at the pharmacy’s cash price instead of with their insurance.
“While Big Pharma is hiking drug prices left and right, families are being forced to decide between getting their prescriptions and putting food on the table,” Congresswoman Porter said. “Congress passed legislation to stop companies from preventing pharmacists from telling people if their drug is cheaper without insurance, but it’s still on patients to ask that question every single time they go to the pharmacy—and to know to ask it. Americans have enough to worry about; they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to find affordable drug prices. I’m proud to partner with Congresswoman DeLauro on this bill, which is just one of the many steps we must take to drive down the costs of prescription drugs.”
“Drug prices should not be a secret,” Congresswoman DeLauro said. “People have a right to know if the product they are using is available at a cheaper price. Big pharmaceutical companies continue to see record profits as families struggle to make ends meet. I am thrilled to join Congresswoman Porter – a steadfast advocate for protecting the people against Big Pharma—in introducing this common sense policy. There is no reason why pharmacies with access to this price information should be forced to hide it and continue to line the pockets of corporations at the expense of working families.”
In 2018, bipartisan legislation was signed into law that banned so-called “gag orders” that prevented pharmacists from telling patients if they could save money by paying out of pocket for a drug. The Lowest Price for Patients Act would require pharmacies to automatically disclose such information to patients, who currently have to ask for it.
Six members of the House of Representatives joined as original cosponsors of the legislation, which is also endorsed by Social Security Works, the Arc of the United States, Public Citizen, Alliance for Retired Americans, Lower Drug Prices Now, Indivisible, and Medicare Rights Center.
Throughout her time in Congress, Congresswoman Porter has prioritized bringing accountability and change to our broken healthcare system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, she released a comprehensive report diving into Big Pharma’s anticompetitive behavior and introduced the Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act to protect older Americans from surprise medical bills. In February, she reintroduced legislation that would shield patients with medical debt from long-term financial devastation. She has also fought against private-equity firms trying to cut provider pay, exposed fraudulent medical supply companies, and demanded answers about taxpayer dollars spent on new drugs. She secured a commitment from the former CDC Director that the Trump Administration would make coronavirus testing free for all Americans.
A one-page explanation of the Lowest Price for Patients Act can be found HERE.