CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The battle against pharmaceutical companies continues in Illinois.
On Monday night, Senator Andy Manar and Senator Scott Bennett spoke in Champaign on what’s being done to combat rising prescription drug costs and make them more affordable. There are several proposals targeted at changing the trend of high prices.
Last month, Governor Pritzker signed Manar and Bennett’s legislation to cap co-payments for insulin to $100 per month. But the two senators say there’s a lot more work that needs to be done by changing the laws to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.
Across the state, people who rely on prescription medication are facing a problem. Claudia Lenhoff with Champaign County Health Care Consumers says, “Over the last five to eight years, we have increasingly seen the cost of prescriptions go up and up and up.”
Many people rely on prescriptions to live. “People need medications, whether it be for diabetes or high blood pressure or asthma. The pharmaceutical industry sees that there aren’t any caps on their prices. They can just continue to raise the prices,” says Lenhoff.
Senator Manar says he recognizes this issue with pharmaceutical and insurance companies. “The government gives them permission to do what they’re doing. There are limitations on what we can do as a state. But despite those limitations, what we can do as a state is meaningful to people.”
There are several bills pending in the general assembly to combat the problem many people are facing. The proposals include creating a prescription drug affordability board to help set acceptable price limits for state regulated plans. Another would create a prescription drug pricing transparency act to hold insurers accountable. And another proposal would require group and individual insurance plans to eliminate deductibles for covered prescription drugs. All of these, while conceptual right now, are changes that could have a lasting impact on those who need it most.
Lenhoff says, “I think it’s a travesty that, in the United States of America, somebody can live their whole life, work and take care of their family and their lives can be undone because they can’t afford their inhaler.”
There will be another prescription drug price town hall like this in Decatur. That’ll be this Thursday at 6:00 pm at the Decatur Macon County Senior Center.