Shackleford: Governor’s approval paves way for prescription drug price study to begin

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INDIANAPOLIS – A comprehensive study to look at ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Hoosiers will take place this summer, thanks to legislation authored by State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) that has been signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb.

House Enrolled Act 1029 calls for lawmakers to study prescription drug prices and the effect they have on the ability of Hoosiers to afford treatment.

It is likely that this study will be one part of a comprehensive examination of Indiana health care costs that will be conducted by two separate interim study committees: Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services; and Financial Institutions and Insurance.

“I have discussed prescription drug prices with State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove), chair of the House Public Health Committee and my co-author on HEA 1029, and we believe that this study should be a critical part of a larger review of health care pricing policies that are generating public attention,” Shackleford said. “We intend to ask the legislative leadership to allow us to conduct this study this summer with a focus on making recommendations for action in the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly.”

Shackleford has been pursuing a review of prescription drug pricing the past two legislative sessions, but her efforts gained traction this year when a public outcry for the study began to take shape. More than 1,800 people from across Indiana signed a petition urging the study of prescription drug prices.

“High prescription drug prices are creating barriers for people to be healthy,” Shackleford said. “The most obvious example comes with testimony from people who are suffering from Type 1 diabetes. As many as one out of four people with diabetes who rely upon insulin to control the disease are forced to ration their treatments due to rising cost of the drug. When a vial of insulin can be produced for as little as $5, but commonly costs as much as $300, you understand their concern and you want to find out what can be done to make these drugs more affordable.”

Shackleford said the study will include input from all of the stakeholders on this issue, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesale distributors, pharmacies, health insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers.

“We want to hear from all perspectives on this issue – particularly the public,” she emphasized. “They are the ones who have demanded that we take action, and they are the ones who can provide the real life examples of the consequences of the high cost of prescription drugs. I look forward to our study that will begin this summer.”

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