Sen. Durbin announces legislation to fight prescription drug costs

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) ---- "This isn't about public information, this is about profit."

Addressing the issue of rising prescription drug costs head on, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin highlighted three pieces of bipartisan legislation currently on the congressional floor during a news conference at SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford.

"If it's out of reach, in terms of cost, it just is not acceptable. We've got to find a way to make drugs accessible and affordable for Americans as well," said Durbin.

Together with Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the REMEDY Act aims to lower prescription drug prices and promote competition by cracking down on patent abuses, clearing the way for lower-cost generic drugs.

"To think that we're seeing a dramatic increase, hundreds of times from the original cost is unacceptable," said Durbin.

The FLAT Prices Act expands on that, by reducing the monopoly period for medications and the REFUND Act allows Medicare reimbursement for discarded medication.

"Sometimes the best medication or the best therapy for a patient may not be in their best interest, so aligning what the patient's best interests are and what they want to what medications or therapies or processes are available, that's really what the goal is," said Thomas Carey, Director of Pharmacy Service for SwedishAmerican Hospital.

"These are life and death issues that real people understand and prescription drug pricing is top of the list," said Durbin.

Sen. Durbin says Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar reached out to him to discuss the Trump administration's support of displaying prices of medications during television advertising.