Bill Would Penalize 'Price-Gouging' Generic Prescription Drugs

Mar 5, 2018

Makers of generic pharmaceuticals are pushing back against an attempt to regulate prices in the industry.

Credit Mayo Clinic News Network

A measure would allow the Illinois attorney general to investigate if a price increase goes above a certain level. Companies can avoid penalties if they can show the hike is because of increased manufacturing costs. 

State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) says drug prices are often left unregulated because insurance covers the costs. 

“The Medicaid programs spends a whole lot of money on prescription drugs — and so when these companies engage in price gouging, that costs the state hundreds of millions of dollars that we’re spending directly on pharmaceutical companies,” Guzzardi said.

But those who produce off-brand medicine disagree. They say small price increases help the industry stay afloat — while bringing much needed savings to others. 

Carrie Hartgen is with the Association for Accessible Medicines. She says the proposal overlooks large pharmaceutical companies that impose price hikes on patented drugs, and instead picks on the smaller industry.

“Remarkably, the bill dodges that critical challenge of bringing down prices of sole-source brand name drugs which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for a single patient," Hartgen said.