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Colorado Will Try To Import Canadian Drugs

The Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 5, requiring the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to  create a plan for safely importing Canadian drugs and presenting a proposal to U.S. Health and Human Services by September 2020. Governor Jared Polis signed the legislation.

Senate Bill 5 is one of several health care bills made into law this week that will require federal approval before the Colorado legislation can have an effect. However, the Canadian drug law has an apparent ally in President Donald Trump, who has spoken to Polis about importing drugs and praised a similar plan in Florida.

“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, a Boulder-area Democrat who sponsored the bill. “We’ve seen drug price increases of nearly 500 percent. That’s unacceptable, and those prices are drowning patients.”

The new law is expected to cost the state $3 million in the next two years. If approved by the federal government, Colorado’s importation program will create a list of drugs that can be brought here safely and in a way that lowers costs for Coloradans. Vendors will be paid by the state to bring drugs to Colorado. Those drugs must meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards.

There’s no guarantee Health and Human Services will approve the proposal and there is skepticism among some that importing drugs will change drug prices. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has called it a gimmick.

Read more in The Denver Post

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