drug prices 033022SPRINGFIELD – A measure led by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to protect access to low cost prescription drugs passed the Senate Wednesday.

“Prescription drugs are a health need for a lot of people, and therefore, they should be more affordable and easier to access,” Hunter said. “We must ensure that people don’t go broke trying to keep themselves healthy.”

House Bill 4595 protects access to low cost "340B" prescription drugs for uninsured and low-income patients by prohibiting pharmacy benefit managers and third party payers from using certain contractual provisions in contracts they enter into with safety-net healthcare providers.

The federal 340B Drug Pricing Program allows entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.

“People living with different diseases and disorders need access to medication, and we have to make it easy for them to get it,” Hunter said. “The Drug Pricing Program was created to lower medication costs, and this measure stays true to that.”

Similar laws have been passed in 16 other states.

House Bill 4595 passed the Senate Wednesday and goes to the House for concurrence.