Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
August 4, 1999(202) 467-5300

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), America's largest taxpayer lobbying group with 21,600 members in the State of Illinois, today announced their disappointment in Governor George Ryan upon his veto of H.B. 2256.

As passed by the state legislature, H.B. 2256 would amend the Pharmacy Practice Act and the Illinois Food and Drug Cosmetic Act, removing archaic and unnecessary barriers to accessing generic pharmaceuticals in Illinois.  The amendatory veto submitted by the governor mimics language that has been rejected by more than 30 states in the last few years and highlighted in Citizens Against Government Waste's investigative report, David v. Goliath.  “By vetoing this bill, Governor Ryan has denied taxpayers and patients in Illinois quick access to safe but less expensive generic drugs.  We hope and expect that the Illinois State legislature will override this costly action by the governor,” said CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.

“As a former pharmacist, the governor should know better.  He knows that generic drugs go through a rigorous approval process at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  He knows that a bioequivalent generic drug can be substituted without concern.  He knows that physicians have the ability to prevent substitution by simply checking the “may not substitute” box on the prescription form.  He knows that generics can save consumers money, especially the elderly who often pay out of pocket for their drugs.  He knows this issue was not about science or about protecting patients.  It was about money and protecting some brand-name companies’ lucrative market-share.”

“Illinois taxpayers must now continue to pay for the Illinois Technical Advisory Council, which is essentially a duplicate generic approval process, even though all generic drugs must meet FDA's approval and explicit guidelines for a generic drug’s bioequivalency.  Illinois's duplicate approval process causes unnecessary and expensive delays for Illinois citizens, sometimes up to several months or years.  Most states do not have this extra process and rely on the FDA’s expertise.  Unfortunately, the governor has decided to support continued bureaucracy instead of consumers and taxpayers,” said Schatz.

Schatz noted that H.B. 2256 was supported by consumer groups, taxpayer groups, senior citizen organizations, labor unions, insurance companies, employers and an overwhelming majority of state senators and representatives.  “CCAGW and its members will spend the next few months encouraging the General Assembly to override the veto," Schatz continued.  "We need to help the governor live up to his many campaign pledges to reduce government regulations, eliminate programs that don't help the taxpayer in Illinois, and provide access to affordable, quality healthcare.”  CCAGW encourages Illinois citizens who are interested in overturning this veto to send a letter to their legislators.

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.



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