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Medicine
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:19pm
Fri Jul 17

Schakowsky: TPP Could Harm Access To Affordable Medicine

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) is sounding the alarm over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership's (TPP) potential impacts on affordable prescription drug access.

Schakowsky joined U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT,3) as well as health and consumer advocates on a Friday conference call to highlight leaked intellectual property provisions in the proposed trade deal that could curb access to generic medicines.

One item contained in the TPP's leaked intellectual property chapter would expand the use of "evergreening," a process by which patents are granted for new uses or changes to existing medicines.

Essentially, "evergreening" lets patent holders like pharmaceutical companies "obtain longer periods of exclusivity for just slight changes in existing medications, even if there is no therapeutic benefit," Schakowsky explained, adding that this process "allows monopoly pricing and keeps out competition from generic companies, and drives up prices."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Wed Jul 16, 2014

Consumers Target Walgreens Over 'Toxic Products'; Public Pressure Grows Over Antibiotics Use In Livestock (VIDEO)

A small group of health advocates, dog owners and Walgreens customers in Chicago called on the nation’s largest pharmacy chain to remove products that, they say, contain harmful chemicals from its shelves.

"Many major retailers in the Chicago area such as Target, Bed Bath & (Beyond), even Walmart have taken direct action to begin to remove some of the worst toxic chemicals from their products, and unfortunately, Walgreens, the flagship of Illinois, has refused to make a commitment to take action on these products," said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois, which organized the Wednesday morning protest outside of the new Walgreens store at 410 N. Michigan Ave. in the Wrigley Building.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:41pm
Mon Feb 24, 2014

Chicago-Area Residents Urge State Lawmakers To Address Social Service 'Crisis' In Illinois

The health and human services system in Illinois is in "crisis," according to Chicago-area residents who pressed state lawmakers at a public forum Friday night to address problems facing social safety net programs.

At the forum held at St. Ita's Church in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, residents provided personal testimony on a number of issues, including understaffed Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) offices and inadequate wages paid to frontline service workers, to name a few.

A coalition of labor and community groups hosted the event, including Alliance for the Community Services, AFSCME Local 2858, IMPRUVE, Northside Action For Justice and SEIU* Local 73.

The coalition specifically wants a wage bump for direct service professionals, more assigned caseworkers in DHS offices and the restoration of Medicaid prescription drug and dental benefits.

State lawmakers in attendance, including Chicago Democrats State Sen. Heather Steans and State Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Greg Harris, all pledged to help bring change and increased funding to Illinois' health and human services system. But the first order of business, the elected officials said, is addressing the state's revenue dilemma.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:10pm
Tue Oct 22, 2013

Consumer Advocates Want An End To Prescription Drug ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals

People in Illinois with various medical conditions have had to fork over 10 times more on average than what’s necessary for at least 20 brand name drugs, according to a report from Illinois PIRG and Community Catalyst.

Costs for these 20 drugs, including Lipitor and Cipro, were kept high, because brand name pharmaceutical companies paid generic makers to keep cheaper versions off the market for a time. These agreements are known as “pay for delay.”

“It’s outrageous that drug companies are paying off the competition to keep prices high,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Brian Imus in a statement. “Because of this, people in Illinois pay inflated drug prices, or go without necessary medication. This needs to stop.”