1/25/2020 12:46:00 PM Illinois becomes second state to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $100 for diabetes patients
SPRINGFIELD — The ability of pharmaceutical companies to line their pockets on the backs of Illinoisans with diabetes is coming to an end.
Surrounded by advocates and diabetes patients young and old, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 667, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), making Illinois the third state in the nation to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 per month for all patients regardless of the supply they require. The cap applies to commercial insurance plans regulated by the state starting on Jan. 1, 2021.
“I’m deeply grateful for the brave individuals and families, some of whom are here today, who stepped up and challenged the status quo on behalf of millions of people who share their experience,” Manar said. “Their stories propelled Senate Bill 667 through the legislature with bipartisan support by evoking a shared belief that unites us all — the health and humanity of our neighbors isn’t a tool to be leveraged for exorbitant profit.”
Roughly 1.3 million Illinoisans are living with diabetes and rely on insulin to manage their blood sugar levels. Price increases have left many of them struggling to pay for the drug and at risk of deadly consequences.
“After being diagnosed almost four years ago as a type 1 diabetic, I quickly learned that I did nothing to cause this disease,” said Josie Edlefson, a 13-year old with diabetes whose family will be directly affected by the new law. “Because of this law, fewer Americans will have to make the choice to ration their insulin. No one should have to worry about paying for a necessary drug to live.”
Last fall, Manar worked closely with advocacy groups, including Insulin For All and AARP, to build a grassroots advocacy campaign to generate statewide support for the measure, which led to overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
“We’ve all heard heartbreaking stories from Illinois residents struggling with the cost of prescription drugs,” said Ryan Gruenenfelder, AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy and Outreach. “This law will undoubtedly help everyday Illinois residents who are being forced to decide whether to pay for insulin or other basic necessities with their fixed incomes.”
The new law also requires the Department of Insurance, in conjunction with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to issue an "insulin pricing report" to the public that details findings on insulin pricing practices and recommendations to control and prevent overpricing of prescription insulin drugs.
Manar is expected to unveil an extensive package of legislation aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs during the upcoming legislative session.