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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Minnesota House Passes Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act

Friday, April 26, 2019

St. Paul, MN – Last night, the Minnesota House voted in favor of the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, passing the first-of-its-kind legislation that seeks to ensure that no Minnesotan loses their life because they can’t afford the insulin they need to survive. The bill was included in a House omnibus Health and Human Services budget bill that passed on a vote of 74 to 55.

“Never again should any Minnesotan lose their life because they cannot afford the insulin they need to survive,” said State Rep. Michael Howard (DFL- Richfield). “Far too many Minnesotans are being crushed by the cost of prescription drugs and it’s our responsibility to take bold action that puts the health and well-being of citizens ahead of Big Pharma profits.”

In 2017, Alec Smith passed away at the age of 26 when he was forced to ration his insulin because he could not afford it. 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.

The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act creates a statewide insulin assistance program to help Minnesotans who struggle to afford the insulin they desperately need. The bill is funded through an Insulin Manufacturer Fee, asking the three largest insulin manufacturers that control the more than 90% of the market to share in solving a crisis in which they have reaped billions in profits.

Howard thanked Type 1 Diabetes advocates for leading the charge for change.

“Minnesotans like Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt are courageously sharing Alec’s story in the hopes it will drive real change and it is making a real difference,” said Howard. “I am grateful to the Minnesotans who are speaking truth to power and fighting for a future where all Minnesotans have access to affordable prescription drugs.”