Responding to the pleas of Illinois residents who can’t afford much-needed medication because of soaring costs, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation this week with resounding bipartisan support that caps the out-of-pocket monthly cost of insulin.
The Illinois Senate voted 48-7-0 to pass SB 667 on October 29th, and House members approved the message with a resounding vote of 100-13-1.
On behalf of its 1.7 million members, AARP Illinois commends Governor JB Pritzker, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) for their leadership on an issue that weighs heavily on the minds and wallets of older adults and their families.
“Residents in Illinois have told us that the high cost of prescription drugs is forcing them to scale back on other important expenditures, sometimes even basic food and housing expenses,” said Bob Gallo, Illinois State Director. “Senate Bill 667 is exactly the type of legislation needed to fight for everyday Illinois residents. We hope it will be a stepping stone to getting further reforms that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for everyone.”
The new legislation:
- Caps patients’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply.
- Applies to commercial insurance plans regulated by the state.
- Requires the Department of Insurance in conjunction with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to produce a report on insulin price practices and public policy recommendations to control overpricing of insulin.
“Thanks to countless grassroots advocates and the brave individuals who stepped up and shared their testimonies, the Illinois General Assembly just sent a clear message that our state will no longer allow pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of Illinoisans living with diabetes by charging exorbitant prices for lifesaving insulin medication,” Senator Manar said.
“The votes in the House and Senate are proof that through grassroots action, you can effectuate positive change in state government against pharmaceutical companies, PBMs, and insurance companies that have armies of lobbyists in this building watching out for their profits. When ordinary people speak up and demand change, we can make it happen.”
Today’s bill passage marks a victory for AARP, which earlier this year launched ‘Stop Rx Greed,’ a nationwide campaign aimed at lowering prescription drug prices. The goal of AARP’s sustained campaign is to help drive down drug prices for Illinois residents and all Americans by advocating for a variety of legislative, executive, and regulatory actions at both the federal and state level.
According to research from the AARP Public Policy Institute, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatment increased 57.9% in Illinois between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for Illinoisans only increased 10.5 %.
The analysis showed that 1,210,443 Illinois have pre-diabetes or diabetes. And between 2012 and 2017, the price of the brand-named drug Lantus to treat diabetes rose from $2,907/year to $4,702/year.
Further, in 2017, 30% of Illinois residents stopped taking medication as prescribed due to cost, the research showed.
“I’m proud that the Illinois General Assembly showed resoundingly this week that we will not continue to sit back and allow drug companies to charge exorbitant prices on lifesaving medication that people depend on every day,” said Representative Guzzardi. “Instead of crushing Illinois consumers to pad corporate profits, we took real action to improve the well-being of residents across the state.”
AARP Illinois is committed to continuing to work with members of Congress, Governor Pritzker, and all members of the General Assembly in 2020 to find ways to cut drug prices for all by advocating for a variety of legislative, executive and regulatory actions at the federal and state level.
For more about Stop Rx Greed, visit www.aarp.org/rx.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.