SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, voted to reduce prescription drug costs and create a more affordable marketplace for people to purchase lifesaving medications.
“Receiving medication on a consistent basis can be lifesaving for many Illinoisans,” Halpin said. “However, big pharmaceutical and insurance companies have been unconscionably padding their profits by gouging patients in need. It’s time we put patient health ahead of corporate wealth.”
Halpin is supporting House Bill 156, or the Prescription Drug Pricing Transparency Act, which requires health insurance companies to report cost information for the drugs they cover to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The reports will have to include, among other things, a list of prescription drugs whose cost has risen by 50% or more over the past five years. This information will be published to alert consumers of potentially unethical pricing behavior.
This legislation is in response to widespread instances of price gouging by pharmaceutical companies and health insurance providers. Infamously, in 2007 the drug company Mylan purchased the rights to produce the potentially-life-saving EpiPen, an emergency drug that shot up from $100 that year to $600 just nine years later, a price many consumers found difficult to pay.
“People need to be aware of what some insurers and big pharmaceutical companies are doing, it’s time to hold them accountable,” Halpin said. “We cannot pretend that increasing the cost of drugs people cannot live without by $200, $300 or $400 dollars is an acceptable business strategy; that padding profits because a parent will pay whatever it costs to ensure their children have medicine is something we will accept. The companies employing these practices are violating peoples’ basic human rights to be healthy.”