Assistant Attorney General Jason Pleggunkuhle testifies in favor of House File 17 (MNHouseInfo/YouTube)
The Minnesota House of Representatives Commerce Finance and Policy Committee passed a bill Monday evening that combats excessive price gouging on generic or off-patent drugs by pharmaceutical companies.
The bill, House File 17, creates a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to identify when a company makes an excessive increase in the price of a drug, and empowers the attorney general’s office to press charges against those companies.
“House File 17 would help reign in the high costs that are being paid for life-saving medications,” Assistant Attorney General Jason Pleggenkuhle said. “And unfortunately, excessive price increases of both generic and branded prescription drugs continue to cause affordability challenges to Minnesotans.”
Pleggenkuhle gave an example of one such drug that’s seen excessive price increases: Fluconazole. Last year, the producers of the drug drove the price of both the generic and branded versions from $2 to $28 and $24, respectively. That’s more than a 1,000% price increase.
If passed, beyond recommending offending companies to the attorney general's office, the board will also have the power to set caps on the prices of prescription drugs.
Minnesota would be the 8th state to establish this kind of board.