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Advocates pledge continued fight for affordable insulin following lawsuit to block new law

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Wednesday is a day many in Minnesota are celebrating in the long fight for affordable insulin. The Alec Smith Bill Affordability Insulin Act went into effect.

The bi-partisan bill, signed into law in April, is intended to help those who cannot afford insulin. That big win could be short lived.

Tuesday night, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) announced a lawsuit against Minnesota. It's asking the court to declare the law unconstitutional and issue an permanent injunction against enforcement.

The bill was named after a 26-year-old man name Alec Smith lost his life in 2017 due to rationing his insulin.

Nicole Smith-Holt standing with her husband James Holt.

"He made about 40,000 dollars a year.. but he still couldn't afford the premium with a high deductible and still have to pay for his insurance," Nicole Smith-Holt, his mother said.

Since then Smith-Holt continues to be on the front lines fighting for those who depend on insulin, all while making sure no one else loses their life.

Her hard work payed off Wednesday as the bill went into affect.

"This law will save lives," Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a news conference Wednesday. "The urgent need program makes eligible Minnesotans receive once a year 30- day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy no more than $35 copay.. The continuing need program for eligible Minnesotans receive up to a year supply insulin for no more than $50 per 90 day refill," explained Gov. Tim Walz.

Attorney General Keith Ellison reacted to the lawsuit in a tweet that read in part: "I'm defending this law in court with everything I have because no one should die because they can’t afford their insulin."

As that legal fight begins Minnesotans will still have a safety net.

"It is really important to get the message out to Minnesotans that if you or your family member is in dire need for insulin this law is in the books and you can use it right now today," stated Rep. Michael Howard, (DFL) Richfield.

While journey has been long Smith-Holt said she has no intention on stopping anytime soon. "We are not done fighting we have a lot of work to do and we will not allow this to alter our path to success," she said.

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Ubah Ali

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