Overwhelming Support for Prescription Drug Affordability Board
DENVER – Today the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative released a poll showing that more than seven in 10 Colorado voters favor the creation of a state board intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs. When asked about the concept of a “state board of appointed healthcare experts who would analyze and act to lower the cost of certain prescription drugs,” 77 percent expressed support. Even after hearing arguments against the Board, over 70 percent of Coloradans remained in favor.
Health care advocates are promoting the establishment of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) to bring together a panel of experts to research, review, and establish more affordable costs for the most expensive prescription drugs and investigating when drug companies sharply increase the price of a drug. The members would be independent and could not accept money or gifts from the health care industry or in any way have a conflict of interest.
“Coloradans are paying 60 to 85 percent more than people in other countries for the same drugs,” said Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “We know pharmaceutical companies still make a profit in those countries or they wouldn’t be selling their drugs in those markets. We can lower the costs of the most unaffordable drugs with a Prescription Drug Affordability Board and save Coloradans money. Drugs don’t work if people cannot afford them. No one should be forced to choose between filling a prescription they need for their health and paying their rent or putting food on the table, but that is exactly what is happening here with no controls on costs.”
Nearly one in three Coloradans skip doses, cut pills or don’t fill a prescription they need because of the costs. Consumers across the state have told CCHI about the tough choices they face.
Tania from Broomfield County said, “My friends often have to choose to pay rent or pay for their medication. Sometimes this means skipping rent for a month so that they can afford their medications.”
“When I experience a sudden change in my medication’s price, I cut back in my other areas of my health care,” said Sandra from Adams County. “I don’t fill my prescriptions. I don’t make appointments. I delay taking care of myself. I worry, and go back to adjusting my budget. I don’t feel supported by the insurance vendor in talking about costs.”
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumers advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).