A bill designed to provide assistance to patients who cannot afford their insulin was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, on Thursday, signed into law a bill for emergency insulin, a drug whose high prices are blamed on the difficulty of market entry for rival producers.
The new law requires manufacturers to make at least a 30-day supply of insulin available for those who are in extreme need and have a prescription but cannot afford the drug. Dispensing pharmacies will be to collect a $35 copayment for this 30-day supply from patients with diabetes. Confirmed Minnesota residents may receive up to a 90-day supply. The law provides for hefty fines on manufacturers who do not comply.
State actions to improve access to insulin have come as a newly enacted, abbreviated FDA approval pathway for insulin biosimilars has yet to bear fruit.
The Minnesota action is the latest in a series of moves to address the large number of patients believed to have difficulty coming up with the money needed for diabetes treatment. In March, Medicare announced a test program that would limit the monthly copay for most insulins to $35.
Colorado, Virginia, Maine, and New Mexico have established copay caps ranging from $100 to $25. Other states have enacted similar measures.
PhRMA, a trade group representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, has advocated that rebates and discounts offered within the drug supply chain be reallocated to address insulin affordability issues.
“We also need to advance policy solutions that delink supply chain payments from the list price of a medicine, provide first dollar coverage of insulin for high-deductible health plan patients, count third-party discount programs toward deductibles, and provide flat copays for insulin for patients receiving cost-sharing subsidies in the exchanges,” PhRMA states on its website.