Big Pharma's challenge to Minnesota's affordable insulin law is dismissed

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America filed the lawsuit the day before the Alec Smith Affordable Insulin Act went into effect.
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A lawsuit challenging Minnesota’s affordable insulin legislation was dismissed Monday.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America filed a lawsuit aiming to overturn the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act last summer, the day before the law went into effect.

The legislation requires top insulin manufacturers to reimburse pharmacies for the drug, helping patients receive it at a more affordable cost.

The lobbying group, which represents drug manufacturers, claimed the law was unconstitutional and violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. A U.S. District Court judge ordered the case be dismissed Monday.

"No one should have to choose between affording their lives and affording to live. The legislature passed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act so that no Minnesotan would have to die like Alec did when he could not afford the medication that kept him alive,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement.

“I'm gratified the court saw through Big Pharma's meritless challenge to the law and dismissed the case."

The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act first failed to pass in the Legislature in 2019. After much debate between Democrats and Republicans, Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill last April.

The legislation allows eligible individuals to receive an emergency 30-day supply of insulin at a pharmacy for a $35 copay. Some individuals are eligible to receive two emergency supplies. 

Eligible individuals can also receive 90-day supplies of insulin for up to one year at a copay of no more than $50.

According to a recent report by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act has so far helped 465 Minnesotans receive insulin.

“The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy welcomes the court’s decision”, said Cody Wiberg, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, in a statement.

“The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program has provided much needed assistance to Minnesotans who are having difficulty affording the life-sustaining insulin that they need to manage diabetes." 

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