Sen. Tina Smith: Bipartisan Bill to Help Patients in Minnesota, Across the Country Pay Lower Prices for Prescription Drugs One Step Closer to Becoming Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. [09/26/18]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said today that a measure she helped push through the Senate—which would help patients in Minnesota and across the country pay less  for their prescription drugs—has also passed the House, clearing the way for the President to sign it into law.

Sen. Smith said The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act prohibits “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling customers that they could save money by paying cash rather than using their insurance. It passed the Senate earlier this month.  

“Medication is expensive enough as it is, there is no reason that drug industry middle-men should be permitted to hide potential savings from families,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “With both houses having passed our bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, we are one step closer to eliminating this egregious practice once and for all.”

Sen. Smith has made bringing down health care costs and increasing access to quality health care top priorities. Her first bill took aim at a Big Pharma tactic that keeps affordable generic drugs out of the hands of Minnesota families and seniors. And she’s introduced legislation to require pharmaceutical companies to disclose how they’re using the billions in tax breaks they’ve received. She has also introduced legislation to ensure students in Minnesota and across the country can access mental health services in schools.

Sen. Smith is a co-chair of the Senate’s bipartisan Rural Health Caucus. And during the Senate Farm Bill debate, she secured a provision to create a Rural Health Liaison at USDA, which will work with other federal health officials to address rural America’s health care needs.

The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act originated in the Senate and was authored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). In addition to Sen. Tina Smith, other cosponsors include Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Nebr.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).