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Coming Soon: Visiting the Pharmacy in CO Without Selling the Farm

January 29, 2007

This year, the Governor and lawmakers agree: keeping yourself healthy shouldn't break the bank. Senate Bill 001 would add Colorado to the ranks of states teaming up to buy prescription medicines in bulk. The idea has strong support in the General Assembly, and from Governor Bill Ritter.

Clark Bouton is a retired professor who has been organizing around the issue for the last five years.

"I think the Governor is taking a very courageous stand. I think it's really a very good policy."

Bouton says his travels around the state for hearings on affordable healthcare have been eye-opening.

"We've heard stories of considerable hardship. I mean, prescription prices that cause changes in lifestyle, even in terms of basic things, like food."

A similar bulk-buying program was approved by the General Assembly in earlier sessions, but was vetoed twice by former Governor Bill Owens. Owens and opponents at the time said it could hurt patients that depend on less-popular medications.

Ritter insists he will address that problem before issuing the order. During his State of the State speech, Ritter said he would issue an Executive Order to implement the program as soon as possible. The House Health and Human Services Committee takes up the bill today.

Eric Mack/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - CO