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RELEASE: Rep. Michael Howard Announces the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Press Release

Rep. Michael Howard

Minnesota House of Representatives

District 50A (651) 296-7158 –

451 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155



CONTACT: Nathaniel Leonard (651) 297-8203

January 23, 2019


Rep. Michael Howard Announces the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act


St. Paul, MN – State Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield) and State Sen. Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington) announced the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act at a press conference this week, joining a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Minnesotans impacted by the skyrocketing cost of insulin to push for change.

At the press conference, Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt shared the story of their son Alec, who passed away at the age of 26 when he was forced to ration his insulin because he could not afford it.

“How we need oxygen to breathe, people with Type 1 diabetes need insulin to live,” said James Holt. “It’s time we do something about it. Enough is enough. We lost our 26-year-old son way too early.”

Alec’s story has sparked a dialogue in Minnesota and across the country, putting a spotlight on the skyrocketing cost of insulin, which has tripled in the last ten years. Studies indicate that 1 in 4 diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to the lack of access to affordable insulin.

“Nicole and James are courageously sharing Alec’s story in the hopes it will drive real change, and it is time for us to take action,” said Howard. “Never again should a Minnesotan lose their life because they cannot afford the insulin they need to survive.”

The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act establishes a means for Minnesotans who are unable to afford their needed insulin to get their prescription filled on a temporary basis. It also authorizes pharmacies to fill a temporary supply of insulin for patients whose prescription is out-of-date. Reimbursements for pharmacies would be paid through a fee on Big Pharma insulin manufacturers.

There are only three manufacturers of insulin in the U.S. and potential competitors have been blocked by a near monopoly, and by patent manipulations barring new formulations from entering the market.

“The large insulin manufacturers are making billions of dollars and continuing to jack up the cost while Minnesotans are struggling to afford the medication they need to survive,” said Howard. “We believe Big Pharma should be held accountable and participate in solving a crisis that they helped to create.”

The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act is one of several bills being sought by a bipartisan group of legislators to address the insulin crisis this session.