CAPITOL BRIEFS: Monday, Feb. 4, 2019

CAPITOL BRIEFS: Monday, Feb. 4, 2019

Durbin proposes bill to prevent prescription drug price spikes


SPRINGFIELD – On Friday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s office announced legislation to reduce the “monopoly period” of expensive pharmaceuticals when their prices suddenly spike.

When new drugs are approved, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees not to review – and therefore approve – cheaper, generic alternatives for a period of five to 12 years.

Durbin’s office said pharmaceutical companies often use this period to raise prices of their drugs, because no competition can surface without the FDA’s approval.

Durbin’s bill, called Forcing Limits on Abusive and Tumultuous Drug Prices (FLAT), would reduce the exclusivity period for a drug if its price is spiked by more than 10 percent in one year. This would allow cheaper generics to come to the market sooner.

For each offense, the legislation would reduce an exclusivity period by six months, with an added month for every 5 percent over the threshold of 10 percent.

The legislation also targets multi-year price hikes: when a drug rises more than 18 percent over two years, or 25 percent over three years.

Drug manufacturers would be required to report their price hikes to the Department of Health and Human Services. Failing that, their exclusivity periods would be further shortened.

Companies could make an appeal to the department to justify their price increases.


Pritzker restores funding to HIV prevention programs

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order last weekend to restore funding for certain HIV prevention programs slashed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The order sends state funding for HIV testing, the African-American HIV/AIDS Response Act, and expanded access to PrEP, which is a preventative medicine for those with high risks of exposure.

Pritzker also made an appearance at Chicago’s Equality Illinois Gala on Saturday, where he spoke of the executive order and made remarks supporting the LGBTQ community.

“When the president spews bigotry and hatred from the White House or the Supreme Court tries to roll back your rights, I will use the full force of my office to protect Illinois’ LGBTQ community,” Pritzker said.


AG Raoul joins opposition to Title IX changes

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined 18 other state attorneys general in opposing changes to federal Title IX rules proposed by Betsy DeVos’ U.S. Department of Education.

Title IX aims to prevent sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding.

The attorneys general say a proposed rule will undermine the long-established anti-discrimination protections in the statute by narrowing the definition of sexual harassment, limiting schools’ obligations to respond to claims of sexual harassment, and mandating unfair grievance procedures.

Illinois is the third Midwestern state to support the letter of opposition, joining Iowa and Minnesota.


Bill would grant Springfield Race Riot site National Monument status

SPRINGFIELD – Companion bills in the U.S. House and Senate would grant National Monument status to the sites of the 1908 Springfield Race Riots.

At least nine African-Americans were killed in the 1908 riots initiated by a white mob which set fire to several black businesses and homes in Springfield. The riot was the catalyst for the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Foundations and artifacts from homes destroyed during the riot were uncovered in 2014 during an excavation effort for a high-speed rail project.

The NAACP and city of Springfield have agreed to make the site a memorial, and Democratic U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) introduced companion bills in Congress last month to grant national monument status to the sites, which would put them under the purview of the National Park Service.

"I am excited about seeing the 1908 Race Riot site as a national monument become a reality,” said Teresa Haley, NAACP Illinois state president. “This is a part of black history that needs to be preserved and shared with everyone.”


Veterinary association board members named

SPRINGFIELD ­– The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association has announced its new Executive Board, which will help the trade association represent its members in policymaking.

They are: President Phil Fassler, DVM, River Ridge Animal Hospital in Dixon; President-Elect Olivia Rudolphi, DVM, Rudolphi Veterinary Services in Noble; Vice President Colleen Lewis, DVM, Tuition Genetics in Altona; Treasurer Lynette Hemker, DVM, Greenville Veterinary Clinic in Greenville; and Immediate Past President Bob Ebbesmeyer, DVM, New Hope Veterinary Clinic in German Valley and Rock City near Rockford.

Serving as board liaisons in the association’s seven regions will be Jessica McKinney, DVM, Effingham Veterinary Clinic in Effingham (Region 1); Jennifer Schirding, DVM, Petersburg Veterinary Clinic in Petersburg (Region 2); Kate Brucker, DVM, Albin Animal Hospital in Charleston and Mattoon (Region 3); Erika Eigenbrod, DVM, Greenhaven Animal Clinic in San Jose (Region 4); Heidi Pulito, DVM, Unleashed with Grace in La Salle, Kendall, DeKalb, Kane, Grundy, Will and DuPage counties (Region 5); Kelli Kramer, DVM, Perryville Pet Hospital in Rockford (Region 6); and Amanda Hampton, DVM, Banfield Pet Hospital in Evergreen Park (Region 7).


Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Illinois. The mission of Capitol News Illinois is to provide credible and unbiased coverage of state government to the more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers that are members of the Illinois Press Association.

Jeff Rogers

Jeff RogersJeff Rogers

Jeff has more than 30 years’ experience working for newspapers as a reporter and editor. He was the editor of daily newspapers in northern Illinois and Wisconsin before joining as Capitol News Illinois’ editor, where he oversees the news service’s development, growth and fundraising. He grew up in Lanark in northwest Illinois and has a journalism degree from Bradley University in Peoria.

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