Senator Hunter on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Access to low cost prescription drugs will be protected thanks to a measure led by State Senator Mattie Hunter that was signed into law Friday.

While the average adult spends $177 out of pocket on prescription drug annually, affordability is a bigger issue for those who are older, taking four or more prescription medicines, have chronic conditions or are low-income.

“People should not have to spend hundreds of dollars in order to receive their prescription,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “People living with diseases and disorders need access to medication, and we have to make it affordable for them.”

The new law protects access to low cost "340B" prescription drugs for uninsured and low-income patients by prohibiting pharmacy benefit managers and third party payers from using certain contractual provisions in contracts they enter into with safety-net healthcare providers.

The federal 340B Drug Pricing Program allows entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.

“Health care is a right, and that includes access to prescription drugs,” Hunter said. “The Drug Pricing Program was created to lower medication costs for those that need it, and this measure reinforces that.”

Similar measures have been adopted in 16 other states.

Due to an expanding aging population and an increase in chronic illness, health care costs in America have risen dramatically over the years, with costs projected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028. Illinois spends more on prescription drugs than majority of the nation, spending of a total of $18.64 billion in 2019.

House Bill 4595 is effective July 1, 2022.

 

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