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May 10, 2023

Signed! Legislation to Improve the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, Bring Down Costs for Medication & Vaccines

AURORA, CO - Today, legislation to improve the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) and improve access to publicly funded vaccines was signed into law by Governor Polis.

HB23-1225, sponsored by Senators Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Longmont, and Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, and Reps. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Ruby Dickson, D-Centennial,  increases the effectiveness of PDAB to help lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Coloradans.

The bill allows PDAB to increase the limit on setting Upper Payment Limits (UPLs) to 18 per year if the board reaches the current annual cap of 12 UPLs and demonstrates a need for additional UPLs. Additionally, the bill improves the criteria for selecting drugs for an affordability review.

“Over the past few years we have worked hard to save Coloradans money on life-saving prescription drugs,” said Jaquez Lewis. “Still, too many families’ budgets are squeezed by high costs of medication. The Prescription Drug Affordability Board is an essential tool to keep Colorado prescription drug prices affordable, and these changes will make the Board even more effective at saving families money on their life-saving medications.”

“The Prescription Drug Affordability Board was created in 2021 to review prescription drug costs and set upper price limits to prevent price gouging of essential medication,” said deGruy Kennedy. “This year, we’re increasing the number of prescription drugs that the PDAB can create upper price limits for so more Coloradans can benefit from the cost saving measures we’ve enacted.”

“House Bill 1225 makes important changes that will increase the impact of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board,” Buckner said. “Too many Colorado families are forced to choose between putting food on the table or paying for life-saving medication, and that has to change. I’m proud to be a part of the effort to continue saving Coloradans money on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.”

“The legislature created the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, but current law restricts the Board's ability to function,” Dickson said. “This new law extends the Board's lifespan and expands the number of prescriptions it can review, so Coloradans can better access affordable, quality health care.”

Governor Polis also signed into law SB23-260, sponsored by Senators Kyle Mullica, D-Thornton, and Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Rep. Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora. The bill allows practitioners to ask individuals who seek to receive a publicly funded vaccine to provide proof of health insurance or a government-issued identification card, but does not limit an individual from receiving a publicly funded vaccine if they don’t have those items.

The bill clarifies that independent pharmacies may charge vaccine administration fees and not provide publicly funded vaccines to individuals who are unable to pay. However, those pharmacies must provide individuals who are unable to pay with a list of practitioners who will provide the publicly funded vaccine regardless of payment ability.

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