Attorney General Ellison hails passage of key recommendations of his pharmaceutical drug price task force

Provisions of Commerce Omnibus Bill prohibit price-gouging on generic prescription drugs and establish Prescription Drug Affordability Board — ‘These new laws will save Minnesotans’ lives’

Award-winning Task Force report made 14 recommendations in 2020 for lowering Rx drug prices

MAY 18, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today hailed the Legislature’s passage yesterday of legislation that codifies two chief recommendations of the final report of his Advisory Task Force on Lowering Pharmaceutical Drug Prices.   

The Commerce Omnibus Bill that the Legislature passed yesterday (1) prohibits drug manufacturers from imposing excessive price increases on generic drugs sold in Minnesota, and (2) establishes a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that is empowered to investigate cost increases of prescription drugs, publish reports on pricing trends, and when appropriate establish upper payment limits on the amount paid to purchase prescription drugs in Minnesota that are determined by the Board to create an affordability challenge to Minnesota patients.  

The Attorney General is provided enforcement authority under both provisions and will provide legal services to the newly created Board, as it does for all other state boards. 

See pp. 54-56 and p. 57 of the Task Force’s report for these recommendations, which will be enacted into law more than three years after the Task Force first released them in February 2020. 

“Minnesotans should never be forced to choose between affording their lives and affording to live, but the high cost of prescription drugs forces too many Minnesotans to make that choice.” said Attorney General Ellison. “I am so thankful to the House and Senate — and specifically to authors Representative Zach Stephenson and Senator Kelly Morrison — for passing these important provisions that my Office has been championing for years. There’s no doubt about it: these new laws will save Minnesotans’ lives.” 

The Commerce Omnibus Bill also makes progress on a third recommendation of the Task Force — to strengthen Minnesota’s consumer protection laws by adding unfair and unconscionability prohibitions to these laws. The legislation does that by adding an unfair-practices prohibition to Minnesota’s Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. (See p. 58 of the report for this recommendation.) This provision is authored by Rep. Liz Lee and Sen. Tou Xiong. 

In February 2019, Attorney General Ellison established his bipartisan Advisory Task Force on Lowering the Cost of Pharmaceutical Drugs as one of his first major actions after becoming Attorney General. In February 2020, the Task Force released its report with 14 recommendations and 57 action steps. In August 2020, the report won a Notable Document Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures for presenting material of interest to legislators and staff in an outstanding format.