DENVER, Colo. — Wednesday evening, the Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee passed SB21-175 to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board and bring relief to Coloradans struggling with high prescription drug costs. The bill has already been approved by the State Senate.
According to an analysis done by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), the Prescription Drug Affordability Board could save consumers as much as $19 million a year in out-of-pocket costs and as much as $199 million overall when looking at data on the 50 most expensive drugs from the All Payer Claims Database.
A Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) would bring together a panel of experts to research, review, and establish more affordable costs for the most expensive prescription drugs and to investigate when drug companies sharply increase the price of a drug. The members would be independent and could not accept money or gifts from the health care industry or have a conflict of interest.
“Coloradans are a step closer to relief from the prescription drug affordability crisis,” said Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Despite obscene amounts of lobbying by the multi-billion dollar drug corporations, legislators sided with their constituents who are struggling with unaffordable prescription drugs. Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them and Coloradans are paying 65 to 85 percent more than people in other countries for the same exact drugs. We know pharmaceutical companies still make a profit in those countries or they wouldn’t be selling their drugs there. We can lower the costs of the most unaffordable drugs with a Prescription Drug Affordability Board and we can save Coloradans millions of dollars.”
Two recent polls (one in January and another in April) confirm overwhelming support for a PDAB across Colorado despite PhRMA’s lobbying and misinformation efforts. When asked about the concept of a “state board of appointed healthcare experts who would analyze and act to lower the cost of certain prescription drugs,” more than 75 percent expressed support.
Many Coloradans struggle to afford the increasing and high costs of prescription drugs, as evidenced by numerous consumer stories CCHI has collected in recent months, and are being forced to decide between getting the medications they need for their health and other necessities like food and rent.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumers advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).