September 06, 2022

Duckworth Touts Democrats’ Prescription Drug Price Reductions at UI Health Mile Square Health Center


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today visited the UI Health Mile Square Health Center on the city’s west side to meet with its staff and discuss how the Inflation Reduction Act, that she championed and secured key provisions in, will help thousands of Illinois’s seniors and Black and Brown communities afford life-saving prescription drugs and how, for the first time ever, will allow Medicare to negotiate for lower medication costs. Photos from the visit are available here.

“Every time I hear from an Illinoisan who is facing the unbearable decision of either paying for their lifesaving prescription drugs or paying for rent, the same frustrating question comes to mind: How are we still allowing Big Pharma to have such a stranglehold on our country?” said Duckworth. “So it’s important seniors and Black and Brown Chicagoans know that Senate Democrats—without a single Republican vote—passed historic changes that will lower prescription drug costs for millions across the country. I’m particularly proud that we’re taking on Big Pharma by empowering Medicare to negotiate directly for the price of prescription drugs—lowering and capping costs for seniors across our state and helping make sure that those who need lifesaving drugs are able to afford them.”

The Senator was also joined by University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish, Illinois Pharmacists Association (IPhA) Executive Director Garth Reynolds, IPhA Region 2 Director Emily Wetherholt, Illinois Primary Health Care State Director of State Policy Amber Kirchhoff, UI Health Mile Square Director of Behavioral Health & Research Dr. Nicole Gastala, Ambulatory Care Pharmacies Senior Associate Director and UIC College of Pharmacy Clinical Asst. Professor Sandra Durley, UIC College of Pharmacy Student Representative Megan Murtagh, Howard Brown President and CEO David Ernesto Munar and AARP Illinois State Director Philippe Largent during the roundtable.

Signed into law only three weeks ago by President Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act will cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35/month for Medicare beneficiaries, which applies to some of the more than one million Illinoisans that have diabetes. The IRA also requires drug companies to offer a rebate when the companies increase the price of their medications higher than the rate of inflation. In Illinois, 59,000 Medicare seniors pay more than $2,000/year on prescription drugs and the IRA would cap all Medicare seniors’ annual prescription drug prices at $2,000 per year (approximately $170 per month). The IRA will also ensure that Medicare seniors have access to free—and potentially life-saving—vaccines.