Republicans can do better to hold down the cost of prescription drugs

The cost of prescription drugs is high, and prices continue to rise. It is unacceptable that anyone is forced to leave prescriptions unfilled at the pharmacy counter, skip doses, or forgo care because of cost, and no Minnesotan should die because they can’t afford life-saving medications like insulin. 

Although the Prescription Drug Transparency Act, which passed out of committee this week and on to the floor, attempts to create more transparency for drug prices and is an important first step toward raising awareness of the role of drug prices in health care, it does nothing to hold large pharmaceutical companies accountable for the increasing costs of prescription drugs, especially when it comes to insulin.

The goal of this bill is to require drug manufacturers to have some accountability for the prices charged and for increases in the prices charged for prescription drugs through regulatory review and public disclosure of pricing information. However, reviews and disclosures are pretty weak approaches to holding drug manufacturers accountable for massive price increases. Quite simply, requiring reporting does nothing to address the cost itself.

Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for the problems the drug industry has created. We must pass much stronger legislation that holds big pharma accountable for the unacceptable rise of prescription drug costs and ensure vital medications are affordable for all Minnesotans. (SF 1098)