Drug Makers Sue To Block Minnesota’s Insulin Aid Program

Alan Levine / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Artivia Tahir

A pharmaceutical group sues Minnesota over a insulin affordability program

A pharmaceutical industrial group has sued Minnesota over its new insulin aid program, according to the Star Tribune.

  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA have argued that the program, which ensures that people who are struggling to afford insulin have a low-cost option, is unconstitutional and that drugmakers already offer low-cost alternatives.
  • In contrast, lawmakers argue that existing programs are insufficient as many have died while attempting to ration their insulin.
  • The measure, called the “Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act in honor of a man who died because he was not able to afford his insulin,” requires insulin manufacturers to supply the drug for free or reimburse pharmacies that give it out.
  • The PhRMA complaint stated:

“A state cannot simply commandeer private property to achieve its public policy goals. The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from attempting to solve societal problems in this draconian manner. Because the Act takes private property for public use without paying just compensation, it is unconstitutional and should be enjoined.”

  • Lawmakers quickly responded to the suit, with the House bill sponsor Rep. Mike Howard, DFL-Richfield, saying:

“In some ways this has been the playbook from big PhRMA, to fight accountability and any sense of responsibility for the welfare of Minnesotans. While it is disappointing, I do have faith that we are going to win this fight.”

  • Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, expressed similar sentiments and said, “Senate Republicans remain committed to providing emergency insulin for those in crisis no matter what happens with this poorly timed lawsuit.”

Read the full report.

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