DENVER, CO — Reps. Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Kyle Mullica’s bill, Concerning Prescription Drug Claims Submitted by a Pharmacy, today was approved by House of Representatives on second reading. The bipartisan bill seeks to lower prescription drug costs and support rural and small community pharmacies by establishing requirements for the rates paid by pharmacy benefit management (PBM) firms to pharmacies. 

“As a pharmacist, I know this bill is critical for saving rural and smaller community pharmacies that are being hit with exorbitant fees,” said Rep Jaquez Lewis (D-Boulder). “We will save these vital health care centers from closing and reduce the cost of prescription drugs for pharmacies and patients with this bill. As a former pharmacist, I understand this system well and I know we need to bring as much transparency to it as possible. ”    

“As an ER nurse, I know first hand how crucial it is to get a patient the best possible medication when they need it,” said Rep. Mullica (D-Northglenn). “But even the best prescription drug is completely ineffective when it’s not affordable or not accessible in your community. This bill would save people money on prescription drugs and help keep pharmacies in smaller communities in business. I’m very pleased to see it move forward today.”

HB20-1078 specifies the amount that a PBM is required to reimburse a pharmacy for ‘clean claims’ and reasonable dispensing fees. Specifically, the bill would prohibit pharmaceutical middle management companies, known as PBMs, from collecting retroactive fees, which increase the cost of prescription drugs to pharmacies and patients in Colorado. Retroactive billing hits pharmacies in rural communities the hardest because they have less financial capacity to absorb retroactive losses on prescriptions that are needed by rural Coloradans.The bill was approved by the House Health and Insurance Committee unanimously before being referred to the Committee of the Whole.