Oct. 10 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump signed a pair of bills lifting so-called gag orders preventing pharmacists from telling customers about how to save money on their prescription drugs.
Trump signed the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Wednesday afternoon. Both seek to end the "gag orders" that keep pharmacists from disclosing cheaper drug options to consumers.
The laws will allow, but not require, pharmacists to inform patients of lower-cost prescriptions.
During the signing, Trump said the state of drug pricing was "out of whack" and "way too high," in part due to the gag orders.
"You look at prices in our country and for the exact same drug in other countries, it's much lower-made in the same plant by the same company, and I said, 'What's going on?'"
In May, Trump laid out a series of plans to make pharmaceutical companies more competitive, including reducing the cost of prescription drugs by allowing drug companies to introduce cheaper versions of medications already on the market, stating at the time they were "getting away with murder. "
"Today Congress is building on my administration's actions with legislation ... very strong legislation to completely end these unjust gag clauses once and for all," Trump said. "Our great citizens deserve to know the lowest price available at our pharmacies and now that is what they'll be getting."
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the legislation will give patients "the right to know" when lower-cost prescriptions are available.
"American patients should know: You can always ask your pharmacist whether you're getting the best deal on the prescription drugs you need. This is just one step in the President's plans to deliver better healthcare to Americans at lower prices, efforts that have already involved more action to bring down drug prices than any previous President has taken," Azar said in a statement.
Azar added the Trump administration has "so much more coming" in the weeks and months ahead to reduce drug prices in the United States.