Prescription drugs

Hunter legislation to protect low-cost prescription drugs

SPRING FIELD – A measure led by State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to protect access to low-cost prescription drugs passed the Senate on Wednesday.

“Prescription drugs are a health need for many people, and therefore should be more affordable and easier to access,” Hunter said. “We have to make sure people don’t go broke trying to stay healthy.”

House Bill 4595 protects access to low-cost “340B” prescription drugs for uninsured, low-income patients by prohibiting drug benefit managers and third-party payers from using certain contractual provisions in contracts that they conclude with health care providers benefiting from a safety net.

The federal 340B drug pricing program allows entities to stretch limited federal resources as much as possible, reach more eligible patients, and provide more comprehensive services.

“People living with different diseases and disorders need access to medicine, and we need to make it easier for them to access it,” Hunter said. “The Drug Pricing Program was created to reduce drug costs, and this measure stays true to that.

Similar laws have been passed in 16 other states.

House Bill 4595 passed the Senate on Wednesday and is subject to House approval.

Joan J. Dean

The author Joan J. Dean