FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – February 19, 2020 – Minnesota nurses support making prescriptions more accessible to patients and making pharmaceutical companies more transparent and accountable. As bedside eyewitnesses to the consequences of patients who can’t get the drugs they need, nurses support the Minnesota Attorney General’s Task Force on their recommendations for making this overly complex market easier for consumers.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison appointed the task force last year, and the group, which includes Minnesota Nurses Association Executive Director Rose Roach, has been working on reforming the cost of drugs for Minnesota patients.
“I’m proud to have served on this task force that has generated these direly needed reforms,” Roach said, “particularly the Prescription Drug Accountability Commission, which would be created in a bill to be heard this week. This commission will be a needed watchdog on the pharmaceutical industry and will serve as an advocate for the patient.”
Creating the commission is one of the 14 recommendations from the task force. In addition, the commission wants to eliminate anti-competitive practices that allow for continuous drug price hikes as well as “rebates” that cause pharmacy bills and insurance rates to go up.
“Nurses are clear that we must limit the unnecessary hidden prices to patients, including the rebates which consumers never see and the price hikes from patent modifications that improve the pharmaceutical company’s profit margin, but not the drug’s efficacy,” Roach said.
The task force also recommends using Minnesota’s buying power to import four widely-used drugs at affordable prices that are comparable with global rates, including insulin, EpiPen, Truvada, and naloxone.
Nurses have frequently testified in the Minnesota Legislature on the needless and often tragic effects on patients, and they will continue to support these reforms as they are introduced at the Capitol.
“Nurses hope these reforms can end the cycle of patients coming to hospitals sicker than before just because they could not get the medications they needed,” Roach said.
Note: The full report and executive summary, both of which include the recommendations, are available on Attorney General Ellison’s website.