SAINT PAUL, M.N. – In response to the news that Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law a bipartisan bill that requires drug companies to justify price hikes, Ben Wakana, the executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:
“Drug corporations have been raising prices with no reason for years now, and their price gouging must stop. As the country grapples with COVID-19 and its worsening economic repercussions, it is imperative that policymakers and hardworking Minnesotans have a window into the pharmaceutical industry’s drug pricing decisions. We applaud Minnesota lawmakers and Governor Walz for passing legislation that will hold Big Pharma accountable for setting high prices.”
- The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (SF 1098) requires drug makers whose products hit certain price increase thresholds to provide advanced notice and justification of the increases to the Commissioner of Health. Manufacturer reporting on the drugs — which includes information on manufacturing costs, marketing, and sales — will be published publicly by the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Patient Action: This spring patients across Minnesota have written to their state legislators urging them to pass legislation that will address the skyrocketing prices of their prescription drugs.
- Minnesota Momentum: The bill’s passage follows the enactment in April of the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, which creates a free 30-day supply of insulin for people with diabetes who can’t afford it. Alec Smith, a restaurant manager from Minneapolis, died at 26 of ketoacidosis after rationing his insulin, and his parents campaigned in the intervening years for drug pricing reform.
- Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is a bipartisan 501(c)(4) national patient organization focused exclusively on policies to lower drug prices. To maintain its independence, the group does not accept donations from organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs. In support of The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, the organization gave Minnesota patients tools to contact their representatives to encourage passage.