PEORIA – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) gathered with fellow state lawmakers and diabetes health advocates in Alton Monday to urge support for a new measure aimed at reducing the skyrocketing cost of insulin.
“Because of out of control insulin costs, people right here in Illinois are being forced to make impossible decisions like whether to buy groceries or purchase medication to keep them alive,” Manar said. “This is the direct result of corporate greed and it’s time to take a stand against drug companies that are lining their pockets at the expense of individuals who rely on their products to survive.”
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Senate Bill 667, introduced by Manar, would cap out of pocket insulin expenses at $100 for a 30-day supply.
Manar was joined by State Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), State Rep. Monica Bristow (D-Alton) and State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) to push for the legislation’s passage and hear from individuals who have been directly impacted by rising insulin costs.
“It’s been 10 years since the insulin I need to survive was only $800. Now it cost $1,800,” said Megan Blair, a single mother who has experienced firsthand the consequences of rising insulin costs. “Something needs to change. Something has to be done about this.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are over 30 million Americans who have diabetes, 7.4 million of which require prescription insulin every day to survive. However, the increasing costs associated with the medication have led many patients to ration their supply or seek care outside of the country.
“Unfair insulin costs are taking a toll on individuals who are forced to pay exorbitant prices for a medication they simply can’t live without, and this problem is particularly serious for African-Americans, who are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes,” Belt said. “It’s time to start prioritizing the health and well-being of Illinoisans over corporate profit.”
The legislation would make Illinois just the second state in the country to cap out of pocket insulin expenses. Colorado became the first to do so earlier this year.
The legislation has also garnered the support of several advocacy organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Pharmacists Association and AARP.
“AARP Illinois supports this measure on behalf of our 1.7 million members, many of whom have told us about the hardships they face in paying for their prescription drugs,” said State Director Bob Gallo. “We commend Sen. Manar, Rep. Guzzardi, and other legislators for recognizing that everyday Illinois residents are having to make heartbreaking choices about whether to pay for medicine or other basic necessities with their fixed incomes. And we hope that SB 667 will be a stepping stone to getting further reforms that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for everyone.”
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