House Gives Final Approval to Bill to Help Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs

Bill renamed after Senator Dr. Irene Aguilar

(May 2) – The House gave final approval today to Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis’ bill to reduce the price consumers pay for prescription medications. The bill, SB19-005, will allow the wholesale importation of prescription pharmaceutical products from Canada for resale to Colorado pharmacies. The House amended the bill to rename it after former state Senator Irene Aguilar, D-Denver.

“As a pharmacist, I know there are many Coloradans who are having to choose between feeding their families or the life-saving drugs they depend on,” said Rep. Jaquez Lewis, D-Boulder County. “We’ve seen drug price increases of nearly 500 percent that are drowning patients. The ability to import prescription drugs from Canada will help lower the cost of health care for hardworking families.”

Rep. Jaquez Lewis is a licensed pharmacist.

As amended in the House Health and Insurance committee, SB19-005 creates the “Colorado Wholesale Importation of Prescription Drugs Act” where the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will apply for a waiver under federal law to contract with a vendor. The vendor will design and implement a program to import prescription pharmaceutical products from Canada for sale to Colorado pharmacies. The program design must ensure both drug safety and cost savings for Colorado consumers.

SB19-005 passed on a bipartisan vote of 41-22. It now goes back to the Senate for approval of amendments.

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