New Law Allows Pharmacists to Advise on Best Prices

Law Passed to Solve Problem That Was Focus of Troubleshooters Story

A new law could bring significant savings for people purchasing prescription drugs.

The legislation concerns something called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBM's, and their ability to keep consumers from getting the best price on prescriptions. Governor Malloy signed the bill into law, but not without reservations voiced in a letter to lawmakers.

If you have health insurance, your prescriptions may be administered through a PBM, which have contracts forbidding some pharmacies from telling customers if it’s cheaper to buy prescriptions out of pocket, instead of through health insurance.

Senate Bill 445, which abolishes the gag order, had bipartisan support and made it to the governor's desk. He signed it, despite concerns the law only “permits” it be enforced, instead of “requiring” it. The governor also disagrees with having the state Department of Consumer Protection making sure PBM's obey the law. He thinks the state Department of Insurance would do a better job.

The law involving PBM's goes into effect next year. The bottom line on what you need to know? Ask your pharmacist if it would be cheaper to buy your prescription out of pocket, or through your insurance co-pay. 

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