Publish date:

On day Minnesota's affordable insulin law goes into effect, drug group sues to stop it

The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act goes into effect July 1.

A group representing drug manufacturers is filing a lawsuit over Minnesota’s affordable insulin legislation, which is set to go into effect Wednesday.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PHRMA) initiated a lawsuit Tuesday over the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, calling it unconstitutional. The law requires top insulin manufacturers to reimburse pharmacies for insulin costs so patients can get it at a more affordable price.

“Unfortunately, this law is unconstitutional, overlooks common sense solutions to help patients afford their insulin and, despite its claims, still allows for patients to be charged at the pharmacy for the insulin that manufacturers are required to provide for free,” a statement from PhRMA reads.

The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act failed to pass the state Legislature in 2019. After much debate, Republicans and Democrats reached a compromise in the bill’s specifics and sent the legislation to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk in April.

Under the bill, eligible individuals can go into a pharmacy once a year for an emergency 30-day supply of insulin for a $35 co-pay. Some individuals are also eligible for a second emergency supply.

The bill also offers a long-term program, which allows eligible individuals 90-day supplies of insulin for up to one year. The co-pay would be no more than $50.

Insulin manufacturers must reimburse pharmacies for this program or provide replacement insulin at no cost.

“This is an incredible accomplishment. Big Pharma was defeated by the passion and tireless hard work of the advocates and legislators who got this done,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a statement when the bill was signed.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

PhRMA’s lawsuit lists The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy and the Board of MNSure as defendants, among others. It alleges the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, meaning the state is taking private property for public use without compensation.

News of the lawsuit was roundly criticized by Democrats, with Sen. Matt Little – who was one of the leading voices on the Alec Smith bill – tweeting: "Morally bankrupt. Devoid of humanity. I will spend my entire life fighting these soulless companies. No one should get sick or die from an inability to afford life-sustaining insulin."

Walz will hold a press conference celebrating the new law Wednesday. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 11.04.26 AM

Mother charged with beating daughter to death ruled incompetent

The case against the Woodbury woman will be put "indeterminately suspended."

msp airport

Employers at MSP Airport seeking to hire 700-plus workers

Employers include restaurants, retail, hotel, airlines and security.

Screen Shot 2021-10-23 at 9.38.43 PM

Driver who died in Hwy. 100 embankment rollover is identified

The 30-year-old was killed in the Saturday evening crash.

best buy

Best Buy launches another pre-Black Friday sale, the Early Deals Event

This latest round of discounts is available through Oct. 31.

dave chappelle

Dave Chappelle to perform at Target Center in Minneapolis

The comedian is screen his new documentary at part of the 10-city tour.

Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 7.06.08 AM

U.S. soccer hero Megan Rapinoe signs her mural at St. Paul bar

Rapinoe paid a visit to The Black Hart ahead of a match at Allianz Field Tuesday.

hospital, emergency room

1 dead after married couple crash UTV in southern Minnesota

The crash happened just after 11 p.m. Saturday.

hmong college prep academy

St. Paul school superintendent offers to quit after $4.3M lost in hedge fund

The Office of the State Auditor recently released its investigative report on the school.


2 women die from injuries suffered in October 19 Hopkins crash

Both victims died at Hennepin Healthcare on Oct. 21.

Dean Evason

Wild fall flat against Predators, lose first game of season

The Wild couldn't stay out of the penalty box in a 5-2 loss.



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.

Screen Shot 2020-04-08 at 9.05.59 AM

House Majority Leader sorry for giving the finger during insulin presser

Rep. Ryan Winkler said he was frustrated over Republicans' comments about a bipartisan insulin affordability deal.

Minnesota House passes emergency insulin bill, despite GOP opposition

There remains disagreement over how affordable insulin access should be funded.


MN lawmakers work on emergency insulin bill, disagree on funding

There's hope an insulin bill can pass sooner than later.

Jeremy munson

Lawmaker's Walmart insulin video criticized as 'irresponsible'

Democrats have pointed out that over-the-counter insulin isn't suitable for many diabetics.


Another MN-based insurer will cap insulin prices

The move comes as officials continue to debate how to address rising insulin costs.


Clinic security guard charged with stealing boxes of insulin

There is currently high demand for affordable insulin for diabetes sufferers.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield the latest to slash patient insulin costs

The insurer is the latest provider to tackle the rising cost of insulin.