Bill aimed at saving people thousands that use specialty prescription drugs

Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 5:44pm

You probably know someone who takes special medications. It might be someone who has multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer or possibly even HIV and those are just to name a few.

Well, those people could soon be saving thousands of dollars.

A bill that will save anyone who needs specialty prescriptions a ton of cash passed through a house committee Tuesday with no opposition.

Your average prescription might cost you twenty or thirty bucks but people with chronic diseases or life threatening conditions face charges that are sometimes more than they make in a month.

"You could be paying up to 10-20-30 percent of the cost and for rheumatoid arthritis according to the Center for Disease Control, out of pocket could cost anywhere forms 900 to 6,000 dollars or more a month."

Karen Kennedy works with Louisiana residents who have arthritis. It’s a condition that affects nearly 1.7 million across the state.

"These patients need these drugs to live and to maintain a good quality of life," noted Kennedy.

But now Senator Edwin Murray wants to ease the pain their wallets.

"So this bill would authorize for your health insurance companies to cap the amount so that in actuality the patient will pay for the drugs only at a certain amount, depending on the kind of plan the patient has," said Sen. Edwin Murray, (D) New Orleans.

That means you'd only be responsible for paying 150 bucks a month per drug. That's a heck of a lot less than six grand.

"I think it's much more prevalent than most of us imagine people were among everyday that that applies to," said Sen. Murray.

With all these new specialty drugs with no generic form, our patients have no choice but to pay up

"They are injecting them, infusing them, or inhaling them depending on your condition,” said Kennedy. “These are expensive drugs to produce."

So now we could be the third state to help with an ever growing cost of prescription drugs.

"They are put in a situation where they have to choose, hey is it my meds or food clothing and shelter."

This is the third step for SB 165. Next it heads to the house floor and then the governor's desk for signature.

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