Governor of Minnesota signs emergency bill for insulin access

pharmafile | April 17, 2020 | News story | Medical Communications diabetes, insulin, insulin copays, medical insurance 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed legislation to provide a one-time, 30-day supply of insulin for eligible residents in urgent need for a $35 copay.

The bill is known as the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act and will take effect on 1 July.

The legislation will allow diabetes patients who are eligible to go to their pharmacy once during a 12 month period and receive a onetime 30-day supply of insulin for a $35 copay. There will also be an option for some to receive a second 30-day supply.

This bill has been advanced after a state committee had backed it back in February. It is named after deceased Minnesota resident Alec Smith, who was unable to afford the $1,300 monthly cost of insulin and diabetes supplies, and died rationing insulin after his parents medical insurance ran out.

In a statement, Governor Walz said: “Minnesotans should not die because they are forced to choose between putting food on the table and affording the drug they need to survive. Despite resistance from the pharmaceutical industry, the grit and determination of Minnesotans with diabetes, Minnesotans who have lost loved ones with diabetes, and their legislators moved this bill forward. It is downright inspiring.

“This hard-fought law will provide much-needed relief to Minnesotans struggling to afford their insulin. We must continue to put Minnesotans first and ensure people don’t struggle to afford the care they need.”

This bill follows similar measures taking in multiple states across America. In May 2019, Governor Jared Polis of Colorado signed an act that capped insulin copays for people with private insurance at $100 per month, regardless of the number of vials needed. In January, Illnois became the second state to cap it at this price, while in March 2020 New Mexico signed legislation capping insulin copayments at $25.

Conor Kavanagh

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