The Illinois House of Representatives is currently considering a new bill, HB 3631. This bill was brought by the Illinois Pharmacists Association and prohibits retaliation by PBMs against pharmacists and pharmacies for disclosing information to courts, hearings, legislative commissions, law enforcement or other government agencies if the pharmacist or pharmacy has reasonable cause to believe the disclosed information is evidence of violation of law or regulation. The House Insurance Committee unanimously recommended to adopt an amended version of the bill.
On June 10, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed HB 4430 into law. HB 4430 allows pharmacists to dispense both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis drugs without a prior referral from a doctor. Alongside HB 4430, Gov. Pritzker also signed HB 5549. HB 5549 ensures funding from the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund will support research centers and resource hubs led by representative members of the community. Together, HB 4439 and HB 5549 aim to remove barriers to access to HIV and AIDS care and prevention, particularly in communities of color.
State of Illinois
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a new legislation package to prevent opioid overdoses and provide easily accessible treatments in Illinois. The package includes 4 new laws. The first, SB 2535, requires pharmacists to inform patients of the addictive nature of opioids and provide them with an opioid antagonist, if they wish. The second, HB 4408, prohibits insurers and Medicaid from charging a copay for the treatment, which is often expensive and inaccessible. The third, SB 2565, allows circuit courts to implement drug-court treatment programs. And finally, the fourth, HB 4556, allows pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to distribute fentanyl testing strips to reduce opioid overdoses.
The state of Illinois is currently considering a new bill, HB 4430, to allow pharmacists to administer preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) to treat HIV. The legislation not only mandates prescribing and dispensing rights but also includes mandatory coverage and compels payers to reimburse pharmacies no less than 85% of the rate of other providers who offer the same service. HB 4430 passed both the House and the Senate and now awaits the consideration of Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois Drug Reuse Opportunity Program Act, or I-DROP, went into effect on January 1st, 2022. This new law sets up the infrastructure to help low-income, uninsured patients obtain the prescription drugs they need. Many patients cannot afford their ideal prescription regimen, so they may be prescribed a secondary substitute or not get the drugs at all. This law will help combat this by allowing individuals and institutions to donate unopened and unexpired medication to be passed to organizations such as pharmacies. Pharmacies will then be able to give these medications to patients in need. A program like this takes time to get started, because there needs to be greater public awareness and adoption of this program by pharmacies. However, it is a step in the right direction.
Illinois Senate Bill 1682, introduced by Senator Scott Bennett, was signed by Governor Pritzker on August 16th this year. The new law is about to go into effect at the start of 2022, on January 1st. This measure aims to increase transparency of the retail prices of prescription drugs. It will now require pharmacies to post a notice that informs their customers that they can request to see current retail prices of a drug at the point-of-sale. Pharmacies must disclose this "real" cost of the drug when requested.
Illinois Senate Democrats
Governor JB Pritzker recently signed HB 0135 into law, which will allow pharmacists to dispense birth control and counsel their patients on a variety of contraceptive options. In effect, this law will expands pharmacies' services and patients' access to needed healthcare. HB 0135 will be enacted on January 1, 2022.
SB 2017 has led to the creation of the Illinois Budget Implementation Act. Part of this his Act highlights pharmacist vaccination authorization by allowing pharmacists to administer all vaccines that are recommended on CDC schedules and required for travel for individuals 7 years and older. It also requires that pharmacists are reimbursed at the physician rate for their immunizations.
SB 2008, a bill currently under consideration in the Illinois Senate, would place stricter regulations on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in the state and prevent them from negotiating lower rates with larger chains. The bill builds upon previous legislation already passed and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker, which relate to PBMs.