Lawmakers propose bills to lower prescription costs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Illinois lawmakers are proposing a package of bills that aim to lower the cost for prescription drugs in the state.

One bill would allow Illinois to be a licensed wholesaler of imported drugs from regulated Canadian suppliers to make prescriptions for Illinoisans cheaper.

Another would create a new tax on certain prescriptions that would cost pharmaceutical companies, not the general public.

"That’s revenue that’s going to come into the state that we can use to drive the drug costs down and provide affordable medication for everyone," Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said. "It’ll also act as a deterrent to manufacturers from making these big price spikes if they’re going to know they have to pay this penalty for price gouging."

Donna Dortch of Springfield is among the many Americans who struggled to pay for her prescriptions.

”It was a life and death situation," Dortch said. "After the tooth was pulled there was an infection, so I had to have two medications."

But Dortch almost couldn’t afford those prescriptions.

“The first thing that I did was cry,” Dortch said.

Dortch tried taking the prescriptions to a store that has $4 deals on a lot of their medications.

It turns out one of the ones she needed wasn’t included in the store’s deal.

"They said ‘no, the pain medication is not on the $4 chart and it’s quite a bit’,” Dortch said.

Dorch isn’t the only person that has struggled to pay for medicine.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 30 percent of Americans couldn’t afford prescription medications they needed in 2016.

Carolyn Austin, executive director at the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland, has worked to help seniors find ways to afford their meds.

"It’s very difficult for us to see people in that situation and know that there is only so much that we can do to help,” Austin said.

That’s what they did for Dortch, who says she is forever grateful.

“I just really am and one day I am hoping to give back for them having mercy on my situation," Dortch said.

The Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland’s phone number is 217-787-9234.

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via WICS

February 28, 2019 at 06:47AM

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