Minnesota State Republicans Hold Series of Listening Sessions On Prescription Drugs
Minnesota Senate Republicans held a listening session on prescription drugs Tuesday at Bemidji City Hall. The room was packed with community members as they heard from Senator Michelle Benson, the Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee in the Minnesota Senate, talk about the proposed solution for high cost prescription drugs.
Senators Paul Utke and Justin Eichorn were also part of the panel listening to community members during the session. Some concerns brought up were centered around the rebate system, imported drugs, manufacturing prescriptions in the United States and insulin. The proposed solution Benson mentions during the session is a re-importation alternative pathway for FDA-approved drugs that would be available to Minnesotans at a lower cost. This would involve partnering with manufactures of a specific drug.
“You have a national drug code for this drug, but you send something identical or nearly identical to Ireland and that’s not subject to rebate, can you give it a new code? And this Pathway 2, this manufacturer would just send it to their wholesaler, they would put a new drug code on it, they would label it for sale in the U.S.,” Benson said.
Benson says they would then send it through a wholesaler to Minnesota pharmacists and would be available to patients. The purpose of the listening session was to answer and gather questions and to listen to Minnesotans voice their concern about the cost of prescription drugs.
“Well hopefully, help out in the healthcare market, plus at the same time bring the cost back to where they should be. You walk up to the candy jar and there’s a lot of good stuff there, it’s really easy to grab a whole handful, and I think that’s what’s been going around recently,” Sen. Utke said.
Bemidji was the third of five stops on their series of listening sessions.