Multiple times a day as a prescriber I am faced with having to find alternative medications for patients that are more affordable with their insurance.

Even when drugs are listed as “covered” on a patient’s insurance, the co-pay at the pharmacy is often hundreds of dollars.

The dirty little secret is that approximately 20% of the time a patient’s cash pay price would be cheaper than the co-pay with their insurance. Pharmacists have been under “gag orders” in their contracts with insurance companies so they were forbidden to tell the patient what the cash price would be even if it was cheaper. This week, President Trump signed a bill making these gag orders illegal!

As of now, pharmacists must disclose the cash pay price if they are asked. The bill does not require them to volunteer the information however. All patient’s faced with a high co-pay for medications should now ask the pharmacist directly what their cash price would be since it could save 100's of dollars.

The same bill will apply to Medicare patients beginning January 1, 2020.

Peter Jenkin, MD, FAAD, FRCPC
Board-Certified Dermatologist
Dermatology Associates of Seattle

Peter Jenkin, Clinic Director and Board-Certified Dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Seattle is available for consultation. For scheduling and information, visit us at