Senate Counsel, Research
and Fiscal Analysis
Minnesota Senate Bldg.
95 University Avenue W. Suite 3300
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-4791
Tom Bottern
State of Minnesota
S.F. No. 2239 - Prescription Drug Reimportation Program
Author: Senator Tony Lourey
Prepared By: Katie Cavanor, Senate Counsel (651/296-3801)
Date: March 23, 2016


SF 2239 requires the Commissioner of Human Services to establish a prescription drug reimportation program.

Section 1 (256.952) establishes the program.

Subdivision 1 requires the Commissioner of Human Services to develop and implement a program to make discounted prescription drugs reimported from Canada available to Minnesota residents by July 1, 2017.

Subdivision 2, paragraph (a), requires the commissioner to negotiate prescription drugs prices with Canadian pharmacies licensed by the Board of Pharmacy and to contract with these pharmacies to make the prices available to eligible entities.

Paragraph (b) excludes from the program those prescription drugs that (1) the commissioner has determined that significant savings cannot be obtained after accounting for administrative and shipping costs; (2) the commissioner has quality concerns; or (3) approval has not been received from the United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Paragraph (c) authorizes the commissioner when setting the price of the prescription drug to add an assessment sufficient to cover the costs of administering this program including paying back any startup costs over a six year period.  Requires the contracts with the Canadian pharmacies to require the pharmacy to pay the commissioner on a monthly basis an amount equal to the total amount of the assessment fees collected by the pharmacy through orders using the program website.

Paragraph (d) authorizes the commissioner to enter into an agreement with a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) to negotiate prices and administer the contracts with the Canadian pharmacies.

Subdivision 3 states that the entities that are eligible to purchase prescription drugs under this program are state and local government employees covered under the State Employees Group Insurance Program (SEGIP); state health care program administered by the commissioner under chapters 256B and 256L; and (3) health plan companies.

Subdivision 4 requires the commissioner to establish a Web site or use an existing site to allow eligible entities to purchase prescription drugs under this program.  Specifies that the Web site must allow enrollees of eligible entities to have prescription drugs delivered to a participating Minnesota pharmacy.

Subdivision 5 authorizes a Minnesota pharmacy to register with the commissioner to participate in the program.  Requires participating pharmacies to receive and store the prescription drugs; notify the enrollees of the arrival of the drugs; and provide counseling at the time the drug is dispensed.  Permits a participating pharmacy to charge an enrollee a fee per prescription to cover the pharmacy’s administrative costs and the cost of providing drug counseling.

Subdivision 6 requires SEGIP to give enrollees the option of purchasing prescription drugs through the program’s Web site and states that prescription drugs ordered through the Web site are exempt  from any applicable enrollee co-payments.

Subdivision 7 requires the commissioner to give enrollees of Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare the option of purchasing prescription drugs through the program’s Web site and states that prescription drugs purchase through the Web site are exempt from any applicable co-payments.

Subdivision 8 requires a health plan company to participate in this program for all health plans it offers.  A health plan company is required to provide enrollees the option of purchasing prescription drugs through the program’s Web site but cannot require an enrollee to participate.  Requires the health plan company to pass along any savings resulting from participation to the enrollees by reducing or eliminating co-payments and reduced premiums.

Subdivision 9 permits the commissioner to enter into multistate agreements to jointly negotiate prescription drug prices with Canadian pharmacies and to jointly administer a mulitstate reimportation program.

Subdivision 10 states that prescription drugs reimported under this program are subject to the MinnesotaCare gross revenue tax.

Subdivision 11 requires the commissioner to develop an implementation plan for the prescription drug reimportation program  and submit the plan to the legislature by December 15, 2016.

Check on the status of this bill
Back to Senate Counsel and Research Bill Summaries page

This page is maintained by the Office of Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis for the Minnesota Senate.
Last review or update: 03/23/2016
If you see any errors on this page, please e-mail us at