Life and health should not be for sale

I’m back in the swing of things after taking a two week break (to paraphrase Jia Tolentino: to sustain this movement, me must know how to rest when we need to without ever leaving the fight).

While I was out, the news broke that Big Pharma is suing to block the Alec Smith Emergency Bill which took effect in Minnesota on July 1. For so many people fighting every day to afford their life saving medication, there is no such things as a break. No matter what, we will not back down.

Hours before the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act took effect, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America filed a lawsuit, against the bill, claiming it violates the Constitution.

Attorney General Keith Ellison made it clear that he will defend the emergency insulin act in court with everything he has.

Big Pharma’s playbook is the same as Big Tobacco’s: shameful, relentless, unconscionable. As much as the lawsuit is intended to stop the bill, it also was likely filed right before it took effect to create confusion. Make no mistake: the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act is still the law of the land.

Big Pharma has made it clear that they will choose the lowest road possible to protect their skyrocketing profits. It’s wrong. Life and health should not be for sale. We have a moral responsibility to act through the power of our government to #ChangetheRules.

Everyone deserves to afford their life. No one should have to worry about affording what they need to stay alive and be healthy. We are tied together and everyone has a stake in this. If pharmaceutical companies have the power to price-gouge insulin, they have the power to price-gouge COVID-19 treatments and vaccines and any other medicine they think they can get away with.

While we face this global pandemic – with added life-and-death urgency as patients are restricted to traveling to other countries to get the affordable medicine they need – it’s imperative that we make changes right here, in our own state and country.

There are a number of policy bills TakeAction Minnesota is working on and supporting looking ahead to 2021:

  • Establishing a Prescription Drug Affordability Commission to address outrageous drug prices
  • Stopping price-gouging of prescription drugs
  • Using the state’s power to negotiate lower drug prices for publicly purchased medicine
  • Supporting federal efforts to ensure that treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 – developed through publicly funded research – are available and affordable for everyone, no exception.

We have the power to lower drug prices and take our democracy back. Here are two actions to take right now:

Questions? Ready to get involved? Contact: kenza (at) takeactionminnesota.org.

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