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Lawmakers file bills to address rising drug prices

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois lawmakers want to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

Democrats in the House are pushing a number of bills aimed at drug manufacturers, five of which they discussed during a press conference Wednesday.

"When the doctor says the medication is medically necessary to save a person’s life and the insurance company cannot pay all of it, what is the patient supposed to do? Are they supposed to die because they can’t afford it? I don’t think so," State Rep. Mary Flowers, (D) Chicago, said. "Something has to be done and done immediately."

One bill, sponsored by State Rep. Will Guzzardi, (D) Chicago, would fine drug manufacturers for raising prices above the rate of inflation. Another bill Guzzardi sponsored would create a board to help regulate drug prices.

Guzzardi accuses pharmaceutical companies of preying on sick people.

"We’re seeing that industry has a captive market of sick people who need their products," Guzzardi said. "They have these federal protections and other legal mechanisms to protect their monopoly power in these areas, and they can charge whatever they want because they know sick people are going to pay."

Another bill would make Illinois a wholesaler of prescription drugs, drugs they would get from Canada because they’re cheaper.

The other bills lawmakers support tackle transparency with prices and more education for pharmacists.

Each of the bills has been filed and assigned to various committees but no votes have taken place so far.

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