Democrats working to lower cost of health care

(Apr. 11) – Aimed at reducing the price that consumers pay for prescription medications and increasing transparency for the industry, HB19-1296, or the “Colorado Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act of 2019,” passed the House Finance committee. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, and Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Longmont.

“I recently found out that one of my prescriptions, which I was able to afford because of a $25 dollar coupon, went up to over $1,500 and I’m not the only one dealing with these frightening price increases,” said Rep. Jackson. “In 2017, one in ten Coloradans did not get their prescription filled because because of the high cost. This bill will help lawmakers identify why drug prices are skyrocketing so we can tackle it effectively and help lower the cost of health care.”

The transparency part of the bill will require drug manufacturers, insurers, and Pharmacy Benefit Managers to submit prescription drug claims data to the Division of Insurance for analysis and policy recommendations. They face disciplinary action and fees if they do not comply.

“As a pharmacist, I know there are many Coloradans who are having to choose between food to feed their families and life-saving drugs,” said Rep. Jaquez Lewis. “We’ve seen drug price increases of sometimes up to 500 percent that are just drowning patients. This bill will be, by far, the most influential bill to reduce overall prescription drug costs ever introduced in Colorado.”

Rep. Jaquez Lewis is a licensed pharmacist.

If passed, discounts could start as soon as 2020. This bill is an ambitious step forward in protecting consumers and comes as 26 other states are considering their own bills intended to increase drug cost transparency.

HB19-1296 passed on a vote of 7-4 with House Republicans voting to maintain the status quo. The bill now goes to the House Appropriations committee.

The bill is sponsored in the state Senate by Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Sen. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins.

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