Canadian medicines are helping reduce prescription drug prices for Colorado citizens. This is great news for senior citizens as well as families on fixed incomes.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation last week authorizing the state to import prescription drugs from Canada.This new law will lower the cost of lifesaving medicines that millions of people take every day.
Other states are also tired of waiting for Congress to act to reduce the exorbitant high cost of prescription drugs. For example, in a corresponding move, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will sign a similar bill soon.
Vermont was the trail blazer — being the first state in the country to enact a drug importation law. However, all three states need approval from the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to begin their programs. Approval is expected as President Trump recently directed Secretary Alex Azar to work with Florida on its program and told Polis in a phone call that he supported Colorado’s effort.
Canadian Medicines: The Colorado Law
Under Colorado’s new law, the state would develop a list of high-cost drugs that are cheaper in Canada. The state, using a private company, would then purchase the medicines from Canada and sell them to participating pharmacies that would then market them to consumers. The imported drugs would have to meet Food and Drug Administration standards for safety and effectiveness.
Vermont, the trail blazer, passed its law last year but has not yet applied to the federal government for approval to start its program. The Colorado law says the state must seek federal approval by September 2020.
In Florida, their law requires an application be filed with HHS by July 2020. A provision in the 2003 Medicare Part D prescription drug law permits drug importation.
Canadian Medicines: Big Saving$
The National Academy for State Health Policy has identified a number of widely used and expensive prescription drugs that are lower priced in Canada. For example, as of 2017, one capsule of Lyrica, a common treatment for nerve damage, cost $6.04 in the United States, compared with 63 cents in Canada. And the price of one tablet of Xarelto, used to prevent and treat blood clots, was $12.44 in the U.S. and $2.11 in Canada. Drug prices in Canada are lower because the government helps ensure that drug prices are affordable.
Another proviso in the Colorado law is that it specifically allows only drugs that generate cost savings to be imported.
Supporters of the law, strongly support this law as a first step in a nationwide campaign to lower the high cost of prescription drugs.
Public opinion surveys leading since the 2018 elections show that lowering prescription drug prices is a top priority for the vast majority of Americans.
Around The USA
Currently, 20 states are working on legislative proposals dealing with the high price of prescription drugs.
In New York, the state legislature is considering measures that would allow the state to import prescription drugs. In addition, pharmaceutical companies must reveal if they restrict the generics from releasing new generic drugs. Lastly, state attorney generals will be empowered to prosecute drug makers for price gouging.
Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana, banned gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from telling a patient to pay cash if it’s cheaper.
In New Mexico, a purchasing agent reviews strategies for buying prescription drugs across state agencies more affordably.
In California, Gov. Newsom directed the state to negotiate drug prices for the 13 million enrollees of Medi-Cal.
Moreover, all of these States have banded together to petition Medicare to directly negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers.
This would save Medicare beneficiaries and a lot of taxpayers money.