SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The following statement was issued by Sheila McLean, a patient and the executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, after the Minnesota House of Representatives passed House Commerce Bill 1031, which includes a prescription drug affordability board:
“We applaud the Minnesota House for advancing a bill that includes the establishment of a prescription drug affordability board. The affordability board would rein in drug prices and offer relief to Minnesotans struggling under the high price of prescription drugs by establishing upper payment limits for expensive medications. On behalf of patients across Minnesota, we urge both the House and the Senate to include the board in the final commerce bill this spring.”
- The prescription drug affordability board and advisory council in Section 2 of HF 1031 would:
- Establish a prescription drug affordability board 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 board may establish an upper payment limit to all drug purchasers and payers in Minnesota.
- Minnesota patient advocate Travis Paulson, who lives with type 1 diabetes, testified in support of the original bill (HF 801) in March. His insulin, which he needs to survive, currently costs $300 a vial, or $1,500 per month. Paulson has had to work odd jobs, living paycheck to paycheck in order to stay alive.
- Both Paulson and Ramae Hamrin, who lives with the incurable blood cancer multiple myeloma, spoke at a press conference in support of HF 801 in February. Revlimid, the oral chemotherapy drug that keeps Hamrin alive, is priced at over $250,000 a year. Even on Medicare, she faces out-of-pocket costs of $15,000 a year.
- A 2020 survey released by Altarum Healthcare Value Hub revealed nearly half of Minnesotans worry about being able to pay for prescription drugs. The survey found nearly 90 percent of respondents support the establishment of a prescription drug affordability board.