Low-cost prescription drugs protected by new Hunter Act

SPRING FIELD – Access to low-cost prescription drugs will be protected through a measure led by State Sen. Mattie Hunter that was signed into law on Friday.

While the average adult spends $177 out of pocket on prescription drugs each year, affordability is a bigger issue for people who are older, on four or more prescription drugs, have chronic conditions, or have low incomes.

“People shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get their prescription,” Hunter (D-Chicago) said. “People living with diseases and disorders need access to medicines, and we need to make them affordable for them.

New law 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 terms in contracts they enter into with health care providers benefiting from a safety net.

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

“Health care is a right, and that includes access to prescription drugs,” Hunter said. “The Drug Pricing Program was created to reduce drug costs for those who need them, 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 disease, health care costs in America have risen dramatically over the years, with costs expected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028. L ‘Illinois spends more on prescription drugs than the majority of the nation, spending a total of $18.64 billion in 2019.

House Bill 4595 takes effect July 1, 2022.

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