Minnesota Senate Republicans recently passed legislation to assist diabetics with the high cost of insulin through a safety net program for emergencies and a long-term assistance program.

“This bill is the result of much hard work and navigation of the complicated world of health care,” said District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls. “I’m happy to see legislation pass that will benefit diabetics and build off the healthcare successes we have already seen, such as the Minnesota reinsurance plan.”

The bill requires insulin manufacturers to provide a 30-day supply of insulin for free to individuals in urgent need but struggling to afford the life-saving drug.

Additionally, patient assistance programs through drug companies, which have been questioned as too onerous and cumbersome with limited qualifications, must be made accessible and transparent with their application and approval process. 

An application for assistance is based on standardized requirements and must be approved or denied within 10 days.

In 2019, Senate Republicans instituted reforms to address the cost and emergency needs of insulin and other life-saving drugs.

Pharmacies are obligated to provide a 30-day supply if a prescription runs out and the patient needs a refill before they can see their doctor for a renewal.

Legislation in 2019 also stopped health plans from charging patients more than the wholesale cost of insulin to prevent profiteering off of the drug and required pharmacy benefit managers to regularly communicate discounts and rebates with the pharmacy for the patient to use first.

The Senate is leading the fight to reduce the costs of health care and prescription drugs.