ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Diabetics who need insulin, but can’t afford it can now get it.
“They are turning what was pain and anguish into activism and now law,” said Governor Tim Walz.
Named after Alec Smith, a Minneapolis man who died 3 years ago of complications from rationing insulin, Minnesota diabetics who need emergency insulin will now pay no more than $35 for a one time 30-day supply. But the news was overshadowed after a pharmaceutical group sued to stop the program.
“Today they have filed a lawsuit to stop a meaningful, workable solution to the tragic death of people with diabetes- simply because they can,” said Nicole Smith-Holt, Alec’s Mom.
Alec Smith’s parents thanked lawmakers for a bi-partisan effort, while also calling out the pharmaceutical industry.
“To say we are frustrated by this development is an understatement. Frankly, my family is outraged,” said James Holt, Jr., Alec Smith’s Dad.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said they’ve been advocating for policies that work better for patients. But in a statement regarding the Alec Smith Act, they said, “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.”
In spite of the lawsuit, MNSure said the program is going forward as planned. It’s an emotional victory for diabetics like Alexis Stanley.
“This fight is not over. Today we are going to celebrate the implementation of Alec’s bill and nothing is going to take that away from us,” said Stanley.