State tells insurers they can’t block lower drug price talk


COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s insurance regulators are telling health insurers not to enforce gag orders that stop pharmacists from telling customers about the lowest drug price available.

The Ohio Department of Insurance also is prohibiting charging customers more for their prescription medication than it would cost if they paid without insurance.

The changes come after The Columbus Dispatch reported that independent pharmacists say CVS Caremark is overcharging taxpayers and driving out retail competition.

The pharmacists say the company is paying lower rates to pharmacists who fill prescriptions for Medicaid patients and keeping the savings.

CVS Caremark denies that such arrangement exist in their agreements with local pharmacists. A company official also says it does not prevent pharmacies from talking to their patients about the availability of lower drug prices.