Minnesota lawmakers seek more notice ahead of prescription drug price hikes

A group of Minnesota legislators have developed a new proposal that would require pharmaceutical companies to alert the state Department of Public Health of substantial price increases for new or existing drugs at least 30 days before the changes take effect. "Nobody forced drug companies to charge high prices, but they can, so they do," said Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center). "What we hope to do this year is require transparency." Failure to report planned price hikes would result in a fine of $10,000 a day. Planned price increases and the reasons why the company increased the price would be posted to a public website. "There's a lot of mystery among all of us. Why are these drugs so expensive and why do the prices suddenly and really inexplicably increase?" said Rep. Kelly Morrison (D-Deephaven). "This will apply public pressure to them to justify why that is and I think there's potential for a little bit of public uprising to hold them accountable." Still, critics say the measure does not go as far as some other proposals introduced this session, including one seeking to prevent "unconscionable price gouging" by capping the price of "essential" drugs.

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