There is a saying: if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.
But for some people, getting the drugs needed to control their health is out of reach.
This, even if a lot of drugs are wasted – maybe your Pharmacy Benefits Manager is mailing drugs before you need them, letting prescriptions pile up, maybe a loved one dies and has unopened leftover medicine in the medicine cabinet, or you buy too much from an over-the-counter pill bottle.
A new law, the Illinois Drug Reuse Opportunity Act (HB119), will allow the donation of these drugs; pharmacists will collect them and help distribute them.
State Pharmacists Association chief Garth Reynolds said the law has been in the works for 20 years.
“Right now, we’re looking at whole-box drugs. So we’re not talking about, you know, you’ve got five pills of something left. We’re talking mostly unused canned drugs or unit-of-use drugs that are still sealed, ”Reynolds said. “This will allow us to take back these drugs and give them to people who are still part of the underinsured population. “
He said Illinois modeled the program after a successful program in Iowa that has been in place for five years.
The next time you visit a drugstore, you may notice that a new sign is displayed alerting buyers that they have the right to ask for the retail price of a drug.
Like other products, the price of drugs varies from place to place. Sometimes the cash price is cheaper than what a drug costs with insurance, or even the cost of a copayment.
“This is where it is good to be an informed consumer in addition to being an informed payer. And just like you are looking for the best price for the best price in other companies for other products and services that you receive, you should also do this for your medications, ”said Reynolds.
Another law that came into effect on Saturday deals with insurance coverage for fertility treatments.
“Now our Illinois insurance law only covers people who can get biologically pregnant, so women, and conceive, and they have to try 12 months with their partner. So you automatically exclude a whole bunch of individuals, mostly LBGTQ people who want to start a family, ”said State Representative Margaret Croke, D-Chicago.
Single women and people who still want to become mothers were also excluded.
Out of pocket, fertility treatments can be expensive, costing thousands of dollars to conceive a single child.
Croke says a voter, a doctor in a same-sex marriage, raised the issue with her. At the time, Representative Croke was three months away from giving birth to her now two-year-old son.
“The idea that because I was able to conceive naturally and I am a woman and I am married to a man, I can have a child, but this man who is married to the most wonderful of partners who happens to be also in a same-sex relationship …. our society, the cost of infertility, takes that opportunity away from that family, it was really incredibly heartbreaking for me, ”she said.
From Saturday, via HB3709 that changes.
Illinois-based insurance plans will need to cover fertility treatments for same-sex couples and singles.
Additionally, women over 35 should try to get pregnant for 6 months, rather than a year, before infertility coverage applies.
If a doctor verifies a medical problem behind infertility, it will no longer be mandatory for a woman to try unsuccessfully to conceive naturally for a year.
Also new for 2022, (HB3027) allows pregnant women to legally use a disabled sign to park in disabled accessible spaces during their third trimester.
Another new law (SB512) aims to reduce vaping among young people. Illinois will ban the marketing of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 21 and ban promotions that promote vaping as a low-risk alternative to regular cigarettes.
Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky