U.S. Sen. Rick Scott unveiled his Transparent Drug Pricing Act Friday morning. The act is intended to promote transparency in drug pricing and reduces the cost of prescription drugs for American consumers.
“American consumers are facing a crisis of rising drugs costs and we can’t wait any longer,” Scott said in a written news release. ”I urge every Senator to put themselves in the shoes of a family or a senior living on a fixed income who’s seen their drug costs triple in just a few years.”
Scott’s plan involves three main components: price transparency, choice and fairness.
The latter component of the plan — fairness — would prevent drug companies from charging patients more for prescription drugs than they charge consumers in other industrialized nations like Great Britain, Canada or Germany. Scott says there is no reason why U.S. pharmaceutical companies sell drugs to people in foreign countries far cheaper than what they charge Americans. This provision would sunset after 5 years.
The price transparency component would require pharmacies to tell patients how much it would cost to buy prescription drugs out-of-pocket instead of using their insurance and paying a co-pay, which Scott says is often a cheaper way to go.
If a patient chooses to pay out-of-pocket, the total cost would be applied to their deductible. Scott says patients should not be penalized for shopping for the best price and they must get this information at the point of sale.
Under the third component of Scott’s drug plan — choice — insurance companies would be required to inform consumers of the total costs of their prescription drugs 60 days prior to open enrollment. Scott says that enables patients to have enough time to shop around for the best deal. Once those costs are set, they cannot be changed for a full 12 months, giving patients confidence that their drug costs won’t suddenly increase.
“This is about the lives of real people that hang in the balance,” said Scott. “Every American should know exactly what their prescriptions cost and it’s unfair that consumers in other countries get a better deal than patients in America.
“That must change,” Scott insisted. “There is no justification for waiting, we need to address the soaring costs of prescription drugs right now. Drug prices are a serious problem – a problem Washington should have addressed long ago.”
The unveiling of the plan follows Thursday’s announcement by President Donald Trump that he has asked Scott, the former Florida governor and former chief executive of the country’s largest private health care provider, along with U.S. Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to work together on developing a new health care plan to replace Obamacare.