The bill makes it unlawful for pharmacies and insurance companies to overcharge for prescription medications.

The Delaware State Senate passed a bill on Wednesday prohibiting insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers from overcharging for prescription drugs and pocketing the difference – a practice often referred to as a “clawback.”

The bill passed unanimously (18-0, 3 absent) and now heads to the governor for signature.

In most cases, these overcharges occur when a patient’s co-pay for a prescription is higher than the total cost of the medication. Insurers and benefit managers can charge that co-pay and keep the difference, denying consumers the savings they would otherwise receive. House Bill 24 would specifically prohibit this practice.

The bill follows multiple others by Rep. Bennett designed to protect Delawareans who rely on prescription medication. Earlier this week, she filed House Bill 194, a bill to more effectively regulate pharmacy benefit managers. In 2018, Rep. Bennett led House Bill 425 all the way to the governor’s desk and into Delaware law. That bill removed the “gag clause” that barred pharmacists from disclosing price options to patients.

“Pharmacy clawbacks have no place in our healthcare system, and I am proud that we are taking a substantial step forward in eliminating them with HB 24. When insurance companies and benefits managers pocket profits for prescription drugs the patient suffers,” said Rep. Andria Bennett, D-Dover South.

“The rising cost of prescription drugs force Delawareans to make difficult choices every single day: Do I pick up my diabetes medication or pay my rent? They do not need additional, stealthy costs tacked onto their medication. This legislation is part of our efforts to ensure that patients are not overburdened by excessive medication costs, and I appreciate the work of my colleagues to pass it through the General Assembly.”

“I think the bill was necessary because we have to protect consumers from practices that artificially inflate their costs,” said Sen. Anthony DelCollo, R-Elsmere. “And when you have a situation where they should be having dollars returned to their pocket and some sort of rule or way of doing things intercepts those dollars, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure they get where they should go, which is back to the consumers.”