Durbin Bills to Control Drug Prices

Apr 17, 2019

Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin, at UnityPoint Health Trinity in Rock Island.
Credit WVIK News

Dick Durbin wants to slow down the ever-increasing cost of health care. Wednesday, at UnityPoint Health Trinity Hospital in Rock Island, Illinois' senior US Senator talked about three bills he's sponsoring to control drug prices. 

"Blue Cross Blue Shield in this area says the drivers for the increase in health insurance premiums are primarily the cost of prescription drugs. They spend more on prescription drugs in Illinois than they spend on in-patient hospital care. "

Durbin's bills would restrict patent protection for prescription drugs, lower the barriers to generic substitutes, and force drug companies to produce smaller, single use drug containers so fewer expensive drugs have to be thrown away.

One example is Eli Lilly which now charges more than 300 dollars a dose in the US for one of its insulin drugs, but only 38 dollars for same drug in Canada.

"So we have a situation in the United States where we are giving monopoly rights and eliminating competition for life-saving drugs and the prices are going through the roof."

Senator Durbin would also force drug makers to include the price in their television ads.

He says his bills already have some support from Republicans in the US Senate, and the bill to require prices in television adds is supported by the Trump Administration.