Prescriptions are for People
Gov. Pritzker signs I-DROP
SPRINGFIELD — Building on efforts to expand health equity across Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker today signed a package of legislation addressing financial obstacles in accessing healthcare, while increasing transparency for purchasing prescription drugs. The legislation, including House Bill 119, Senate Bill 1682, and House Bill 1745, provides hardworking families the tools they need to manage their prescription drug costs while helping to curb out-of-pocket costs.
"Lowering healthcare costs for Illinois families remains one of my top priorities, and I'm proud we're advancing this mission by putting patients first," said Governor JB Pritzker. "The legislation I'm signing today not only lowers costs but increases access to life-saving prescription drugs — because healthcare should be a right for all, not a privilege for a few. This is yet another step to ensure every Illinoisan can live a healthy life."
House Bill 119
To ensure prescription medication can be safely repurposed for residents in need, HB 119 formalizes the legal process for donating unused prescription drugs to certified pharmacies or health departments.
By establishing a prescription drug repository program, prescription and over-the-counter medication that remain unexpired and unopened can be returned to pharmacies and reused for eligible populations.
The legislation establishes safeguards regarding the donation and receipt of donated drugs, such as prohibiting the resale or repackaging of the donated drug. Additional guidelines include detailed record keeping for this program and an immunity provision for the recipient and manufacturer of the donated drugs. This measure is another way to help individuals who are unable to access or afford their life-saving medication.
"As we fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs, it's imperative that we work to provide alternatives to buying medication at the costly market value," said State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago). "I-DROP will help ensure families are not forced to make the tough decision between paying bills or buying food and purchasing necessary prescription medication."
"After a decade of work, we've finally passed legislation to reuse millions of dollars of safe, unexpired medications in Illinois," said State Representative Will Guzzardi (D)-Chicago. "Instead of going to an incinerator, these drugs will go to people in need across our state. Thanks to the tireless work of an incredible coalition of advocates, I'm proud to see Governor Pritzker sign our bill into law."
"I-DROP opens up another avenue for Illinois healthcare to be able to help those who are underinsured or unemployed and not able to afford their medication; by enabling pharmacists and other healthcare providers to redispense needed medications that are going unused, especially those from mail order waste," said Garth K. Reynolds, Executive Director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association.
"Thanks to grassroots activists from across the state, we'll have the opportunity to re-use many of these precious drugs to help patients in need," said Elizabeth Lindquist, PharmD, co-founder of Illinois Prescription Drug Repository Coalition. "Thanks to Rep. Guzzardi and Sen. Villa for spearheading the legislative effort. Thank you to Governor Pritzker for signing I-DROP into law. The coalition looks forward to assisting with I-DROP implementation to maximize its benefit for patients and the environment."
"We applaud Governor Pritzker and the Legislature for passing I-DROP. This law will reduce the environmental damage caused by needlessly destroying usable medicine and at the same time help Illinois families get the medicine they need to stay healthy," said George Wang, PhD, co-founder of SIRUM. "Now we look forward to working with the supporters of I-DROP to implement a successful donation program for the state."
"With the Governor's signature, we can now work on educating our patients, colleagues, and local clinics that Illinoisans no
w have access to this exciting new resource for affordable medications," said Alan Hutchison, MD, PhD, GI Fellow at the University of Chicago Medicine. "In my work with patients with inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease, often our ability to prescribe therapies is limited by what our patients can afford. This program will also substantially reduce the waste of safe and unexpired medications that would otherwise pollute our waterways."
"Free and Charitable Clinics provide much needed health care for the uninsured and underinsured, who have chronic health conditions, like hypertension and diabetes," said Melissa Maguire, Executive Director at The Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.
HB 119 takes effect January 1, 2022.