ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate passed the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act by a bipartisan vote last Thursday.

The bill, House File 3100, establishes an emergency assistance program for Minnesotans unable to afford the high costs of insulin.

“Minnesotans shouldn’t lose their lives because they can’t afford the life-saving medications they need,” Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids, said in a press release. “Over the past two years, we have implemented solutions regarding insulin that ensure Minnesotans have access and that lives are not at stake. Today, we made a further commitment to protect Minnesotans and allow them to access the insulin they need at a price they can afford.”

The legislation creates an emergency insulin assistance program to provide access to insulin on an emergency basis, along with a patient assistance program to provide ongoing insulin access for eligible Minnesotans. The emergency program allows eligible individuals to receive up to three months of insulin from their pharmacy. The costs for both programs will be paid for by insulin manufacturers. Minnesotans seeking assistance under this program will be referred to a health plan that would provide them with insulin at little or no cost.

In 2019, legislation was signed into law requiring pharmacies to provide emergency access to insulin and other lifesaving drugs if a prescription runs out, allowing pharmacists to fill 30-day supplies of insulin for patients. The legislature also passed a bill requiring Pharmacy Benefit Managers to communicate available manufacturer rebates and discounts to pharmacies, as well as prohibiting health plans for making a profit on the sale of insulin.

The legislation awaits action by a conference committee between the Senate and the House to work out differences in the bills passed by each body.

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