March 19, 2019 Media

ICYMI: Republican Senator Admits Big Pharma Controls His Caucus

In a story published by Fox 9 on legislation to create an emergency insulin fund for Minnesota diabetics, Republican State Senator Scott Jensen openly accused his fellow Senate Republicans of doing the bidding of powerful pharmaceutical interests.


“It’s horrifying that people are dying and horrifying that the Legislature isn’t moving fast enough to solve this,” said Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska.

Senator Jensen is the lone Republican author on the Senate version of the bill. So far, he has been unsuccessful in gaining support for the bill from his caucus.

“I think the pharmaceutical industry is powerful enough that when they flex their muscles, they make it difficult for things to move forward,” said Jensen.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement in response to Jensen’s startling admission:

“It’s extremely disturbing, though not surprising, that Senator Jensen admitted what we’ve known for years – the Republican Party is controlled by corporations motivated by profit-motive more than helping improve people’s lives. The people of Minnesota deserve better than a Republican Senate that delays life-saving legislation to appease big pharma and campaign donors.

Insulin costs are skyrocketing, people are dying because they can’t afford insulin, and it’s past time for something to be done. It’s unfortunate that while the DFL is working on real solutions, Senate Republicans are working on behalf of big drug companies. It’s time for Senate Republicans join their colleague, Senator Jensen, the lone Republican author and stand up for Minnesotans before they stand up for price-gouging corporations.”

Background on Insulin Prices:

  • Over the last six years, insulin prices have nearly doubled according to a study conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute. Additionally, found that:
    • “Between 2012 and 2016, gross insulin spending per person increased by $2,841.”
    • “In 2016, individuals with type 1 diabetes spent $5,705 per-person on insulin.”
    • “Gross spending on insulin accounted for 31% of the $18,494 in total per-person [health care] spending.”
  • In 2018, former Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit against insulin manufacturers for price gouging, prompted by insulin prices tripling since 2002.