Saint Paul, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota Legislature passed the nation’s strongest Prescription Drug Affordability Board to lower out-of-control drug costs. The Prescription Drug Affordability Board, sometimes called a PDAB, will serve as a watchdog and have the authority to set upper payment limits on certain high-cost drugs. The Prescription Drug Affordability Board along with provisions to stop price-gouging of generic prescription drugs is included in the Commerce bill heading to the Governor to be signed into law. The House and Senate Majorities stood up to intense lobbying and campaign pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, including high-profile paid ads around the state and an attempt to sneak a poison pill into the bill.
“No matter where we live or how much money we have in the bank, we all deserve to be able to afford the prescription medications that keep us healthy. When Governor Walz signs this nation-leading Prescription Drug Affordability Board legislation into law, Big Pharma will no longer be able to force Minnesotans to choose between paying for their groceries or paying for their medications,” said Elianne Farhat, executive director of TakeAction Minnesota. “Workers, seniors, and health care providers have organized for years to win more affordable medications, and leaders who put people ahead of profits. Minnesotans are showing the nation how to make that vision a reality.”
The Prescription Drug Affordability Board was first identified as a state solution to high drug costs by Attorney General Keith Ellison’s Task Force on Lowering Pharmaceutical Drug Prices. The Board will be established by the Commerce Department by January 1, 2024 and will be charged with reviewing drug costs and setting upper payment limits for certain high-cost drugs. The PDAB will build on Drug Price Transparency legislation passed in 2020 which provides insight into drug pricing, but does not address affordability challenges.
A strong coalition of patients, nurses, physicians, farmers, small business owners, faith leaders, and community organizations around the state supports the creation of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. A recent survey found nearly half of Minnesotans are worried about prescription drug costs, and more than one in five residents have recently rationed prescription medicines due to cost. All Minnesota residents pay the high cost of prescription drugs through our health insurance premiums, at the pharmacy, and through the public health toll when people can’t afford the medicine they need.