New Bill is Aimed at Tackling Prescription Drug Prices in Colorado

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Sue Knipmyer says she and her husband have had to file bankruptcy due to the price of insulin.

Knipmyer has had diabetes since 1963, and has depended on insulin most of her life. The Colorado Prescription Drug Transparency Act of 2020 advanced through committee last week, and will be presented on the Statehouse floor any day now.

If passed, this bill could lead to lower insurance premiums when it comes to paying for prescription drugs.

The bill would require pharmaceutical companies to report their price increases to the state insurance commissioner, which would in turn monitor prices more closely.

But for some Coloradans, paying for prescription drugs has proved to be a life long struggle, with or without insurance.

“My husband and I have filed bankruptcy and we’ve had to relocate,” said Sue Knipmyer, a Grand Junction resident who moved from the Front Range a few years ago. She says the cost of insulin over the years gradually made it so she and her husband couldn’t afford to live on the Front Range, and had to move to Grand Junction to find cheaper living.

Knipmyer began taking insulin for her diabetes in the early 1960s. She says then, insulin cost about $1 per bottle. Now, she says it’s increased to over $300 per bottle. She uses about two bottles per month, and can only afford them through a special non-profit which provides insulin at low costs.

“The way it’s gone up since i first started on insulin, it’s just unbelievable,” said Knipmyer.

According to the Colorado Health Institute. One in 10 Coloradans don’t fill their prescriptions because they cannot afford them.

John Marshall is the board president of Healthier Colorado, a statewide nonprofit which lobbies for healthcare legislation.

He says in a recent poll commissioned by Healthier Colorado, about 80% of Coloradans believe the cost of prescription drugs are too high.

“The challenge with drugs is that it’s simply not a private commodity,” Marshall said. “These are life-saving drugs oftentimes.”

Marshall says this bill won’t make changes overnight if passed. But what he says is most important, is the information about prescription drug pricing will be out in the open.

“Transparency is not going to fix everything but at least it’s a step in the right direction. “

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