The Senate passed the Prescription Drug Pricing Transparence Act this week with a stated goal “to promote public health in Minnesota by preventing unconscionable price gouging with respect to the price of essential prescription drugs sold in Minnesota.” The problem is, the bill doesn’t ensure any way of actually doing that. The bill requires companies to disclose when a price jumps above a certain threshold, but that’s it. While it is a good starting point and lays the groundwork for more ambitious changes in the future, simply reporting the changes with no real consequences will not address the problem of rising costs.
Efforts to strengthen the bill were voted down by the Senate Republican majority. DFL legislators offered an amendment that would have prevented price gouging for prescription drug costs. The amendment would have allowed the Attorney General to investigate price gouging and administer a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation; it was an actionable method for holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions. Despite this, every single Republican on the floor voted against this amendment.
Simply requiring drug manufacturers to report the, often, outrageous cost of prescription drugs is not enough. The Senate DFL remains committed to the fight to ensure prescription drug price gouging is illegal and holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for the rising costs of their medications. (SF 1098)