As the price of prescription drugs keeps going up and Congress stays paralyzed, states are beginning to take matters into their own hands. States have regulatory authority and the economic power to buy medicine in bulk.

Seth Boffeli with AARP Minnesota said it’s time states act as a counterweight to the market because, “These drugs just arbitrarily go up overnight and there’s no justification and there’s no requirement that the big pharma company provide a rationale for what most people believe is just price gouging.”

Boffeli says Minnesotans could benefit from lower drug prices in Canada, and explained that, “The state could set themselves up as a wholesaler and then begin bulk buying medications from Canada. And one way this could have a big impact is on our state Medicaid population.”

He expects legislators to listen as more Minnesotans realize they can do something about out-of-control drug prices.

AARP Minnesota is holding three community forums to compare notes and explore steps the state could take to curb skyrocketing prices. The first is Wednesday in Duluth. Two others are planned in Fergus Falls and Rochester before the Legislature convenes at the end of the month.