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Tina Smith Announces Emergency Insulin Bill

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Sen. Tina Smith announced plans Friday to introduce legislation to hold insulin manufacturers accountable for the drug's price increase. The Minnesota Democrat said she will introduce the Emergency Access to Insulin Act next week, two years after Minnesotan Alec Smith, a 26-year-old type one diabetic, died from rationing insulin.

The bill would give uninsured or under-insured diabetics short-term insulin via State Insulin Assistance Programs, or SIAPs. Sen. Smith said federal grants would enable SIAPs to provide emergency insulin to patients.

The bill will also propose bringing generic insulin to market faster and penalizing insulin manufacturers for insulin price spikes.

In the act, Sen. Smith said the average price of insulin almost doubled between 2012 and 2016, and a quarter of diabetics cut back on insulin for financial reasons. She says patients without insurance or with high deductibles are hit the hardest with skyrocketing insulin prices.

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