ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota’s Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act is now law across the state, but a trade group representing several pharmaceutical companies is suing the state to overturn the law.
The emergency insulin bill, which became law on Wednesday, gives diabetics access to an emergency supply of medicine for a $35 co-pay. Drug companies are required to help with the supply and the cost.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PhRMA, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota late Tuesday, just hours before the law took effect, asking the court to declare the law unconstitutional and issue a permanent injunction against enforcement.
The trade group said in a statement that the law violates the takings clause of the constitution because it forces insulin makers to give their product to Minnesotans for free, without any compensation from the state in return. The group blames health plans and pharmacy benefit managers for the high costs of insulin.
Both MNsure and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy issued similar statements in response to the lawsuit, saying they are reviewing the lawsuit and “implementing the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program as planned.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also issued a response, saying that it’s his job to defend the law in court and his office will use every resource to do so.
“I’m defending it on behalf of all Minnesotans who believe that no one should die because they can’t afford their insulin. I’m defending it on behalf of all Minnesotans who believe people’s lives are more important than drug companies’ profits,” Ellison said.
The Big Pharma lawsuit to block Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act = Big Pharma telling Minnesotans their obscene profits come before our lives. I’m defending this law in court w everything I have bc no one should die bc they can’t afford their insulin. https://t.co/05QBJbZEsK
— Attorney General Keith Ellison (@AGEllison) July 1, 2020
The law is named for Alec Smith, an uninsured 26-year-old Minneapolis man who died in 2017 of complications from rationing his insulin. He couldn’t afford the $1,300 per month he needed for the drug and test supplies after he aged off his mother’s insurance.
The pharmaceutical industry raised the constitutionality issue during the Legislature’s long debate over the act, but supporters expressed confidence then that the law would survive a court challenge.
Gov. Tim Walz plans to highlight the new law at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Source: CBS Minnesota