Missouri bill would end ban keeping pharmacists from sharing expensive prescription could cost much less

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri lawmakers are working to ban the so-called "gag orders" that prevent pharmacists from alerting patients to potential cost savings.

Often times, the cost of a co-pay for a prescription exceeds what it would cost someone to pay for the medicine out of pocket -- and very often in the greater Kansas City area, according to experts, pharmacists are not allowed to tell patients about the cost difference.

“Honestly, it makes me sick,” said Cameron Lindsey, a professor of pharmacy practice and administration at UMKC.

Missouri House Bill 1542, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Morris (R-Nixa), would ban those gag orders, which are commonplace in the contracts between insurance companies and pharmacies.

Although some pharmacists aren’t allowed to tell patients about potential savings, they will explain the price difference -- if asked.

Lindsey believes everyone should make it a routine at the pharmacy.

“Patients should always ask: ‘Is there a way for me to get this medication cheaper if I pay cash and didn’t use my insurance?'" Lindsey explained. “And that’s because then the pharmacist has to answer that question. They will.”

Five other states have banned pharmacy gag-orders. Missouri is among 12 states currently considering a ban.