DENVER — Physicians celebrated today as Gov. Polis signed SB 175, historic legislation that will help reduce the costs of vital prescription drugs. The law creates the Colorado Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board that will review the affordability of certain drugs and establish upper payment limits for those determined to be unaffordable.
“Today marks the beginning of better health outcomes for my patients and the thousands of Coloradans who have often had to skip filling their prescriptions or split doses in half because of high costs,” said Dr. Kyle Leggott, a family medicine physician in Lone Tree and Aurora, and a member of the Colorado Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “As physicians, we are grateful to Gov. Polis and the legislators who took action on an issue that our patients couldn’t wait any longer on. Colorado is becoming a leader in the nation on health care, and this critical legislation will strengthen our state by prioritizing the health of Coloradans. For my patients who have feared picking up their prescription medications because of what it might cost, the Colorado Drug Affordability Review Board means they can focus on improving their health and have the peace of mind they deserve knowing they won’t have to choose between filling a prescription or keeping a roof over their head.”
The Colorado Drug Affordability Review Board will consist of five members who each have an advanced degree and experience or expertise in health care economics or clinical medicine. They will determine upper payment limits for unaffordable drugs and make recommendations to lawmakers regarding drug prices.
“As physicians, we know how critical prescription medications, taken in the correct dosages, are to the health of our patients, but we also know all too well the look in our patients’ eyes when they tell us they can’t afford their prescribed medications,” said Dr. Claudia Panzer, and endocrinologist in Denver and member of the Colorado Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “The Colorado Drug Affordability Review Board will provide real relief to struggling families while helping them manage their health and live more fulfilling lives. This legislation is a huge step forward for our state, particularly as Coloradans work to overcome the harmful health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Even prior to the pandemic, nearly one in three Coloradans reported skipping doses, cutting pills, or not filling a prescription they needed because they couldn’t afford the cost. The signed legislation will now help rein in costs and create savings as high as 75 percent on the most unaffordable drugs.
“No patient should have to choose between paying for life-saving medication and paying for groceries for their family,” said Dr. Allison Costello, a family medicine resident in Denver, and member of the Colorado Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “Thanks to this legislation, Coloradans will have more affordable access to these prescriptions, and countless lives will be saved. We applaud Colorado legislators for putting the health and wellbeing of our patients — and all Coloradans — first.”
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care, formerly known as the Committee to Protect Medicare, is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org