Tackling the rising cost of prescription drugs

PEORIA, Ill. – Senator Dick Durbin made a stop at OSF Healthcare Children’s Hospital of Illinois Friday to address the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Senator Durbin highlighted the importance of holding pharmaceutical companies accountable. He recently introduced a bipartisan bill requiring companies to disclose the price of the drug directly in advertisements.

“The drug companies have learned that if they can educate consumers in the name of a drug for a certain condition those consumers are often likely to ask the doctor to prescribe the drug. Many times that drug isn’t needed many other times there are generics that are just as effective and a heck of a lot cheaper.” Senator Durbin said.

Pharmacists in central Illinois say, most recently, the price of Vitamin K has skyrocketed because of its use as a treatment in the synthetic cannabinoid crisis. It is used to stop bleeding.

“It was about $900 for a bottle of 100 in 2015. It was purchased by one specific Pharma company and the minute they purchased it, they increased the price from $900 per bottle of 100 up to $5800 per bottle of 100. Same drug, no changes, it’s a generic drug, a generic vitamin,” Jerry Storm, Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Services for OSF Healthcare, says. “These patients didn’t have healthcare coverage, a lot of them they didn’t have medical coverage, and the first prescription that was written, the prescription, the amount that prescription was $18,500 for a one month supply and these patients will have to be on this prescription for 6 to 9 months.”

“Medicine has made a lot of progress in the last 10 to 20 years with medicine, surgery, and innovation. The patients can’t get better if they can’t afford their medicine. Patients who don’t take their medicine don’t get better.” Dr. Stephen Hippler, Chief Clinical Officer for OSF Healthcare, says.

Senator Durbin says this bill is just one piece of the puzzle and the next step is to take the bill to the floor of the senate.

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