ST. PAUL, Minn. — Bemidji cancer patient Ramae Hamrin will testify in front of the Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee today in support of the bipartisan legislation HF 801, which would establish a prescription drug affordability board designed to protect Minnesota patients like Hamrin from unaffordable prescription drugs.
Hamrin lives with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and relies on Revlimid, an oral chemotherapy drug sold by Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb, to keep her alive. Revlimid is priced at over $250,000 a year and, even on Medicare, Hamrin faces out-of-pocket costs of $15,000 a year. That is simply untenable for Hamrin.
“In order to continue taking this life-saving drug, there is a chance I will have to deplete my life savings, cash out my 401(k), and sell my house. When those funds run out, I’m not sure what I will do. Usually, I am a planner — but I cannot plan for this,” Hamrin, age 50, will tell the committee. “My circumstances make me feel helpless at times, but I am grateful that I can share my story with all of you.”
“This bill to create a drug pricing board is an essential first step to hold drug companies accountable and fix this broken system. Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. I strongly urge you to vote YES on HF 801 to protect patients from the burden of high drug prices.”
HF 801 would:
- Establish a prescription drug affordability commission and an advisory council. These entities would work together to analyze drug pricing data and determine which drugs are excessively priced and cause affordability challenges.
- If a drug is found to create an affordability challenge, the commission may establish an upper payment limit to all drug purchasers and payers in Minnesota.
The hearing and Hamrin’s testimony can be watched here at 3:00 PM CST.