On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), visited Peoria UnityPoint Health-Methodist, to highlight two pieces of legislation he has introduced to fight the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs, and reduce the wasted spending on discarded medications.
He introduced the Forcing Limits on Abusive Tumultuous (FLAT) Prices Act, to stop pharmaceutical companies from increasing the price of prescription drugs.
“We should reward innovation, of course. Promote research, of course. And insure that the companies make a profit for their good work,” Durbin said. “But, abusive manufacturers should not be protected from competition by our government”.
This act will try to deter pharma’s price hikes, by reducing the government issued monopoly in sales when companies decide to raise their prices, according to Durbin.
Company’s are allowed a monopoly period of 5 to 12 years by the FDA. During that period, new generic products may not be introduced.
Under Durbin’s FLAT Prices Act, the monopoly periods companies would be reduced for a drug if the company’s raise the price 10 percent a year.
The prices of insulin would be included under this act.
Currently, there is no generic version on insulin, according to Durbin.
“Part of the reason is because the Federal Drug Administration has historically regulated insulin, under a framework that makes it hard for generics to get approved,” Durbin said.
He says that insulin is a life or death drug. Lori Coffey, mother of three children with type 1 diabetes, couldn’t agree more.
“This becomes a real concern for me when I wonder how are they going to support themselves?”, Coffey said.
Savanna Vance was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 8-years- old, and 16 years later, she is trying to support herself while paying for her needed insulin.
“Type 1 diabetes is expensive. And those of us living with with it, have almost three times the amount of medical expenses,” Vance said.
Another bill that Durbin has introduced is the Recovering Excessive Funds for Unused and Needless Drugs (REFUND) Act.
This act would reduce the large amounts of wasted spending on discarded medications that come from large, single-use drug vials.
“For many of the most expensive drugs, phamra produces them in a single use vial,” Durbin said. “The problem is that the industry insists on selling these drugs in excessively large vials that contain dramatically more medicine than the average patient needs”.
He says that doctors administer the right dosage, then what is left is thrown away.
Durbin says the reason company’s sell in a “one size fits all”, is so they make more money. This effort will try to get companies to administer smaller single use doses.