Senate passes Felag bill which allows pharmacists to inform customers about lower-cost prescriptions
State House – The Senate tonight passed Sen. Walter S. Felag’s (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) legislation would prohibit gag clauses sometimes found in pharmacy contracts that prevent a pharmacist from talking to a customer about more affordable options.
“This legislation is a patient and consumer protection bill that will allow our residents to save crucial dollars on their prescription medications. It is simply unfair that our state’s pharmacists are sometimes not allowed to discuss cheaper available prescription and treatment options with their customers. Thankfully, this bill will remove this onerous gag order on our pharmacists, letting them serve their customers as they should while also saving consumers much-needed dollars,” said Senator Felag.
The legislation (2021-S 0497) would bar health insurance plans from prohibiting pharmacists from discussing reimbursement criteria with individuals presenting prescriptions. The bill also states that health insurance plans may not penalize a pharmacy or pharmacist from disclosing reimbursement criteria with an individual presenting a prescription or for not charging a copayment from an individual presenting a prescription that exceeds the total charges submitted by the network pharmacy.
Cosponsors of the legislation are Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton), Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) and Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich).
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.