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Dealing with insulin costs

Diabetics who need insulin to survive suddenly represent a cash cow to those drug-makers who produce insulin. Minnesota lawmakers would like to address the problem of skyrocketing insulin prices.

Gov. Tim Walz and lawmakers are working on a plan that would help people who can’t afford the high cost of insulin so they won’t have to ration it, or do without it at the risk of their health and lives. The hangup is how to pay for it. Democrats want the pharmaceutical companies who are putting the high markups on insulin to help pay for the plan. Republicans don’t want to tap those profits.

President Donald Trump has another good idea, with a proposal that would allow people to buy drugs from across the border in Canada, where government regulations keep drug costs low. A lot of Minnesotans already caravan across the border to buy insulin in Canada at about a 10th of the cost of US insulin. But the Trump plan would only allow insulin to be purchased this way if the manufacturer agrees to it. We won’t hold our breath for that approval.

We think it is tragic that those who need insulin are being put in such a difficult situation. Drug-makers know they can rely on the continued business of these people, so why gouge them? We understand there is a principle of free markets. There is also the word “cruelty,” which is callous indifference to suffering. We hope drug-makers come to their senses, before they are forced to do so.

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