A few months ago, Rhode Island state Rep. Brian Kennedy had a mild sinus infection, for which he was prescribed an antibiotic.
That would be unremarkable, except for what happened next. Kennedy had a friend behind the pharmacy counter where he went to fill the prescription. The pharmacist-friend said he would charge Kennedy the retail price for the small drug dose he needed, without going through his insurance company, because the retail price was cheaper than the insurance copayment.
Kennedy won’t name his friend because the pharmacist might have violated a “gag clause” in the store’s contract with a pharmacy benefit management company that handles its drug insurance plans.
Instead, Kennedy and four colleagues, all Democrats, introduced legislation to ban such “gag clauses.” The bill is now in committee.