WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17, 2023) – The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President of State Advocacy Scott LaGanga released the following statement on the Minnesota legislature voting to form a prescription drug affordability board (PDAB).
“Minnesota lawmakers missed an opportunity to pass legislation that would have made a real difference for patients. Instead, they passed a prescription drug price-setting board that will do little to help patients and likely harm future access to medicines.
“This is a bad deal for Minnesotans, and we urge Gov. Walz not to sign it into law. The bill threatens the patient-doctor relationship and injects bureaucrats into the evaluation of whether certain treatments are worth paying for. It also does nothing to stop health insurance plans and their PBMs from making patients pay more for medicines than they do.
“Instead of risking access to medicines and future cures, Minnesota legislators should be focusing on stopping the tactics insurers and PBMs use to keep patients from getting the lifesaving treatments they need.”
The prescription drug board created strong concerns among oncologists, who regularly administer prescriptions in a clinical setting, that it could reduce patient access to breakthrough therapies while adding to difficulties in providing community cancer care and disproportionately increasing costs to independent providers. This concern was not addressed by legislators, and many physicians in Minnesota remain concerned with how this board will impact access to critical treatments.
The board also fails to address the challenges created by massive consolidation and vertical integration in the health insurance and PBM industry. Currently, only three PBMs control 80% of the prescription drug market, and they own or are owned by health insurance companies, giving these entities unchecked ability to siphon huge profits out of the health care system.
“Patients need help affording their medicines at the pharmacy counter, which is why we have consistently supported a number of policies that will directly address this need,” said LaGanga. “Unfortunately, there’s no evidence the prescription board will solve these problems. Instead, Minnesota should follow the lead of other states that have found ways to save patients money.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Over the last decade, PhRMA member companies have more than doubled their annual investment in the search for new treatments and cures, including nearly $101 billion in 2022 alone.