DENVER, CO — Reps. Alex Valdez and Leslie Herod’s bill on HIV Infection Prevention Medications today was approved by the Public Health Care and Human Services Committee. The bill would allow for pharmacists to dispense both PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) without a prescription from a physician. The bill passed 12-1.
“This bill will save lives by preventing new HIV infections in Colorado,” said Rep. Alex Valdez (D-Denver). “With the lifetime healthcare cost for an individual with HIV over $350,000, you can imagine the impact this will have on families and on our healthcare systems. It’s our obligation to do everything we can to prevent any more Coloradans from being affected by HIV. I’m proud to be a sponsor and excited to see the bill move forward.”
“I am fighting for the communities that have been devastated by this virus,” said Rep. Leslie Herod. “This is for the black, latinx, and transgender folks who have seen so many of their peers experience the stigma, cost burden, and health effects of HIV. This bill will bring much-needed relief to these communities. Our work continues as we move to the House for a full floor vote.”
If enacted, HB20-1061 would allow Coloradans to go directly to a pharmacy to receive either an initial treatment regimen of PrEP or a full treatment regimen of PEP after a brief consultation with a pharmacist. The legislation also prohibits insurance companies from requiring patients to obtain authorization prior to using their benefits to obtain the medications and also prohibits insurers from requiring that a patient undergo step therapy.
More than 14,000 people were reported to be living with HIV in the state of Colorado, according to a 2018 report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.