Health Care Advocates and Experts Support an Attorney General Who Will Fight to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Last week, Attorney General Lori Swanson launched a lawsuit against insulin manufacturers who more than doubled the cost of life-saving medications

A mother who lost her son due to the high cost of insulin joined Ellison and experts to speak out today for an AG who will lower health care costs

As AG, Ellison will advance lawsuits to lower prescription drug costs; Wardlow has repeatedly refused to support lawsuits to hold opioid manufacturers accountable

MINNESOTA – Health care experts and advocates joined Congressman Keith Ellison today to stress the need to elect an Attorney General who will take massive pharmaceutical corporations to court for price-gouging practices which are pushing health care costs higher for Minnesota families.

“When I led policy in the Attorney General’s office under Skip Humphrey, I saw firsthand the power of a People’s Lawyer to take on issues on behalf of Minnesota families,” said State Representative Erin Murphy. “As a nurse and legislator who has spent the last decade engaged with Minnesotans across the state, I know well the need for affordable, high quality health care. I know a lawyer like Keith will hold pharmaceutical companies accountable and lower health care costs for our families.”

As Attorney General, Ellison will continue to push lawsuits like those being led by current Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson against major pharmaceutical and opioid corporations, including the suit launched last week against three major insulin manufacturers. The price of some insulin products from these manufacturers have more than doubled since 2011; one product increased from around $120 in 2012, to more than $290 in 2018.

The price of insulin has gone up over 1,200 percent in 20 years,” said Nicole Smith-Holt, of Richfield. “It wasn’t affordable for my son, and it isn’t affordable for thousands of families across Minnesota. I thank Keith Ellison for pledging to take these companies to court and defend protections for preexisting conditions like diabetes.”

Nicole’s son, Alec Smith, tragically passed away at age 26. While he had previously been covered under his family’s insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, once he turned 26 he lost coverage. Alec couldn’t afford the high cost of insulin medications to manage his diabetes, which would have cost $1,300 to refill, and unsuccessfully attempted to ration his medication due to the high cost.

“As Minnesota Attorney General, I will take on the pharmaceutical companies and the Trump Administration to make health care more affordable for Minnesota families,” said Ellison. “This is the work I have been doing for more than a decade in Congress, while my opponent has worked to repeal the ACA and coverage for preexisting conditions.”

It isn’t just insulin medications which have been the subject of price-gouging in recent years. Prescription medications are the fastest-growing factor driving health care costs up, accounting for more than 17 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the United States. From 2010 to 2014, the cost of the 50 most popular generic medications in the U.S. increased by more than 370 percent.

“Minnesota nurses know first hand that families need better access to more affordable health care,” said Mary Turner, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “When patients need prescription medications, they shouldn’t have to worry about how they will pay for them. Nurses support Keith Ellison for Attorney General because he has always been a champion for better, more affordable health care, and isn’t afraid to take on the big corporations to get it done for Minnesota families.”

In addition to taking on the massive prescription drug companies, Ellison has pledged to defend against attempts by Republicans to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and revoke protections for preexisting conditions, like the diabetes that took Alec Smith’s life. As Republican Attorneys General push a lawsuit to repeal these health care protections, the Trump Administration yesterday loosened rules which will make it easier for states to deny coverage for preexisting conditions. Wardlow has pushed efforts to undermine and overturn the ACA and revoke protections for preexisting conditions throughout his career, which would take health care away from millions of Minnesotans.