“We had to declare bankruptcy; I wish I’d known more”
DENVER – Advocates for Colorado health care consumers today announced the introduction of a bill intended to give consumers and policymakers more information on the exorbitant price of prescription drugs by creating transparency and corporate accountability.
“Drug companies are extracting huge profits on the backs of consumers by selling medicines that taxpayer-funded research paid to develop,” said Adam Fox of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “We can achieve high quality and affordable health care in Colorado if we create the public transparency and greater accountability that out of control drug prices call for. With the cost of health are constantly on the rise, drug companies should be held accountable.”
The Drug Price Transparency Bill addresses the concerns of Coloradans who simply want to know when, why and how much the price of their medications will increase. House Bill 1260 requires:
Drug companies to provide 90 days advance public notice when drug prices are increasing.
Drug companies to publicly justify price increases that exceed 10% in the previous two years.
Insurers to report on drug spending for the top 25 drugs that are the most costly, the most prescribed, and that have the highest price increases year to year, helping Colorado understand how prescription drugs are contributing to premium hikes.
Sue Knipmeyer, a retiree from Grand Junction, knows how high-priced drugs can hurt a family – they now spend $600 to $700 a month on her insulin, and that doesn’t include other related medications and supplies. To afford the skyrocketing price of her life-saving insulin, her family was forced to move and to declare bankruptcy and still have to make the difficult choice between paying for medicine or groceries.
“Drug corporations are raising prices so much that they’re out of reach for folks like me struggling to make ends meet, said Knipmeyer. “What gets me is that I have no idea why the costs went up so much and I wasn’t given any warning about how much it would cost.I wish I’d known more. I hope that legislators will pay attention to people like me and ensure that drug companies give their customers more information.”
One in 10 Coloradans doesn’t fill prescriptions because of costs. HB 1260 will help lawmakers and Coloradans understand why prescription drug costs are consistently rising, even as competition is increasing for some kinds of drugs. In a recent statewide poll of likely 2018 voters, 94 percent of Coloradans said the public should be informed about the factors causing the increases in their costs for prescription drugs.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative represents 45+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members, advocating for high-quality, affordable, and equitable health care for all Coloradans.