SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new law backed by state Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Itasca, will manage spikes in prescription drug costs and rein in pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to skyrocket costs.
“When members of our community go to the pharmacy to pick up the critical medicines they need to function, they are paying far-too-high a cost,” Pappas said. “Pharmaceutical companies’ non-stop pursuit of profits has come at the expense of working and middle-class families, and it has to end.”
Pappas helped pass House Bill 465, which will curb skyrocketing prescription drug prices by creating comprehensive regulations for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), including requirements that they inform customers of cheaper prescription alternatives, comply with oversight from the Department of Insurance and pay fines of up to $50,000 for violating the Illinois Administrative Code in their bookkeeping procedures. The new law also protects the rights of patients in the emergency room by prohibiting any insurer from denying coverage until the patient is considered stable. Combined, these measures should help substantially lower the cost of health care in Illinois.
As the middlemen between drug manufacturers and pharmacies, PBMs set drug prices on behalf of insurance companies. Until now, they have operated with virtually no oversight even though they manage public money through Medicaid, as well as managing prescription programs for private insurance and self-insured plans.
“I’m committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the medical aid they need,” Pappas said. “Not only is reliable health care the foundation of a stable life, it’s the foundation of a growing economy. We are working to create good-paying jobs, but those jobs won’t help our economy thrive if people are too busy battling chronic health problems to work.”