SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A bill moving through the state legislature would prohibit Illinoisans from paying exorbitant costs for generic brand medications.

A bipartisan group of legislators worked to pass the Pharmaceutical and Health Affordability Act, which aims to stop skyrocketing prices of generic and off-brand prescription medications. The bill passed the Senate Wednesday and the House of Representatives Friday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

In the bill, price gouging is defined as “an increase in the price as 30% or more within the preceding year, 50% or more within the preceding 3 years, or 75% or more within the preceding 5 years.” It also must be found the price hike burdens consumers because of little to no competition in the marketplace. The bill does exempt if companies raise the price because of production cost increases.

If a manufacturer or wholesale drug distributor is price gouging customers, the attorney general can pursue legal action against the companies. Circuit courts may rule under the act for companies to provide documents to determine if they were following the law or be forced to pay a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation per day.

“People shouldn’t have to burn a hole in their wallets to receive the medication they need,” Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “This legislation will ensure that every Illinoisan has access to medication at a fair price.”

Data collected by the CDC shows between 2015 and 2018, 48.6% of all people in the United States have used at least one prescription drug within the last 30 days. For people 65 or older, 88.5% had taken a prescription in the past month according to the same survey.

“This bill is an important step in taming skyrocketing healthcare costs that are forcing Illinoisans to choose between their prescriptions and their groceries, or their prescriptions and their rent, or their prescriptions and their childcare,” Rep. Nabeela Syed (D-Palatine) said.

If signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the law would go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.