August 19, 2022

Sen. Tammy Duckworth touts Democrats' prescription drug price reductions and how it will benefit Illinoisans

Source: Quad-City Times


Gathering Friday at the family-owned Illini Clinic Pharmacy in Silvis, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., discussed how the Inflation Reduction Act will help lower prescription prices.

Before having media availability, Duckworth participated in a roundtable discussion about the IRA with local pharmacy owners, local senior services directors and coordinators, the Illinois Pharmacists Association and Illinois' American Association of Retired Persons.

"Not only are we providing more resources for hard-working Americans, we're also reducing the nation's budget deficit," Duckworth said. 

Though the bill does aim to lower prescription drug prices, there are limits. 

Out-of-pocket costs for insulin will be capped at $35 a month for Medicare beneficiaries. It also allows Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs to bring down the price beneficiaries pay for their medications, and it requires drug companies to offer a rebate when companies increase the price of the medication higher than the rate of inflation. 

In Illinois, more than 1 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes. 

Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, said he hoped the legislation will encourage more conversations between Medicare beneficiaries and the pharmacist to help lower drug costs and finding alternatives.

"I think these types of initiatives, especially with the insulin costs and looking at our out-of-pocket caps, help ensure that patients maintain access to medications," Reynolds said. 

It also caps Medicare seniors' yearly prescription drug prices at $2,000 or $170 per month and ensures that Medicare seniors have access to free vaccines.

According to Duckworth's news release, about 59,000 Illinois Medicare seniors pay more than $2,000 a year. 

"Folks are coming forward and they're having to make these really terrible choices between medicine or food, and this will allow seniors to be able to basically sustain themselves," Duckworth said. 

But Republicans in Congress argued that the new spending would only aggravate inflation.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that the bill will have a "negligible" effect on inflation in 2022 and into 2023 and change inflation somewhere between 0.1 percentage point lower and 0.1 percentage point higher than what it currently is. 

By:  Grace Kinnicutt