Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen's Access to Medicines Program
Note: The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today sued the state of Minnesota to challenge a law – the Alec Smith Act – that provides free emergency insulin access to those who cannot afford to pay, arguing that the law takes manufacturers’ property without just compensation. In May, Public Citizen and T1International published a guide to state legislative insulin access solutions, including the Alec Smith Act.
No one ever expected Big Pharma to care about anything other than profits, but PhRMA’s lawsuit is an exceptionally cruel and arrogant act from an industry that has slouched into entitlement and lost its way.
Alec Smith and dozens of Americans have died from insulin rationing in the past several years. During the ongoing pandemic, job loss and the accompanying loss of insurance is making this problem much worse, putting lives at risk.
Minnesota legislators and diabetes patients worked hard to develop this basic law to protect people’s health. But a group as greedy as PhRMA will not stomach even this modest bipartisan compromise, showing that legislators cannot reasonably expect prescription drug corporations to negotiate access solutions in good faith.