SAINT PAUL – This evening, the Minnesota House is expected to approve the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. After the Republican-led Senate refused to include insulin affordability legislation in the final hours of the 2019 Legislative Session, House DFLers continued their efforts to provide affordable and emergency insulin to Minnesota’s diabetics, holding a series of town halls in communities across the state and bipartisan informational hearings during the legislative interim. This is a renewed version of Alec’s bill, updated through the events of the interim, advocate input, and bipartisan negotiations.
“It’s absolutely unconscionable that the price of a drug – which for many people is absolutely critical for to sustain their lives – has tripled in just a decade, while Big Pharma’s executives and lobbyists can’t explain why,” said Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora). “I deeply appreciate the advocacy from people with diabetes and their families at the Capitol, and I proudly support the Alec Smith Act. I’m also committed to other solutions to address prescription drug costs, which continue to skyrocket out of control.”
The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act creates a statewide insulin assistance program to help Minnesotans who struggle to afford the insulin they desperately need. Compromises in the updated bill include the state bearing the responsibility of the program’s set-up costs, but the House version still maintains that the bulk of the costs be paid by insulin manufacturers, the top three of which control over 90 percent of the market and recorded $80 billion in revenue in the last 12 months.
The Senate’s companion bill, SF 3164, has yet to receive a hearing.