Shackleford helps lawmakers see how rising prescription drug prices hurt Hoosiers

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) today gave Indiana lawmakers a chance to see how rising prescription drug prices affect the lives of Hoosiers.

Shackleford and other members of the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services devoted today’s meeting to a study of drug prices in Indiana, thanks to legislation authored by Shackleford (House Enrolled Act 1029) that was signed into law this year.

“This was a day designed to show how high prescription drug prices are creating barriers that are keeping people from being healthy,” Shackleford said. “Between 2012 and 2017, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatment increased nearly 58 percent in Indiana. Over the same time period, the annual income for Hoosiers only increased by 10 percent.

“We heard from all five entities that make up the creation and distribution of drugs in today’s committee,” she added. “This is not a one-sided problem and we have to take into account the consumers, manufacturing companies, insurance plans, pharmacists, and pharmacy benefit managers when crafting policy changes.

“But today’s meeting was designed to put a human face on this rising tragedy,” Shackleford said. “Too often when the Legislature discusses these issues, we only hear from lobbyists who represent drug manufacturers or pharmacies or insurance companies. Today provided a chance for Hoosiers to come in and talk about the toll high prescription drug prices have on individuals and their families.”

While Shackleford has been seeking a drug study for several years, her efforts gained significant momentum in 2019 when more than 1,800 people from across Indiana signed a petition calling for that study.

“As many as one in four people with diabetes who rely upon insulin to control their diabetes have to ration their treatments because the drug costs so much,” Shackleford said. “We understand their problems in greater detail when we realize that a vial of insulin can cost as much as $500, even though it can be produced for as little as $5.

“We heard from multiple groups about what other states have implemented and we have to take those considerations into account. Now that we have been able to see how much affordability affects access to health care and how industries develop their pricing, the next step is to do something about it,” she continued. “I certainly intend to press my fellow committee members on doing more to make prescription drugs affordable in Indiana. We are seeing the extent of the problem shown to us. It is time to start acting on helping Hoosiers.”

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