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Lawmakers to Consider Measure to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021   

DENVER -- A new survey shows strong support among Colorado voters for creating a new prescription-drug affordability board to ensure that all residents can access the medicines they need.

Adam Fox, deputy director for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, said many Coloradans have had to choose between paying for medicines or other necessities for years.

He added the survey is one of many showing, across party lines, Coloradans are fed up with high drug costs.

"They are sick of paying 65% to 80% more than people in other countries," Fox asserted. "They want to see something done to bring prescription-drug costs to a more reasonable level."

A new bill to create an affordability board is expected to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes later this month.

Seventy-seven percent of registered Colorado voters surveyed support lowering the cost of medicines people rely on. More than nine in ten Democrats, eight in ten unaffiliated voters and 54% of Republicans support the proposal.

Pharmaceutical companies have defended their pricing, arguing high profit margins are necessary to offset the costs of developing new medicines.

Fox agreed money is needed to develop new medicines, but noted U.S. taxpayers already pay for initial research stages through the National Institutes of Health.

"The other thing that I'll say is, most prescription-drug corporations are spending two to three times on advertising what they do in research and development," Fox countered.

Fox noted the proposal to create an affordability board is similar to legislation passed in Maine, Maryland and Washington state. The board would set an upper cost limit on medicines Coloradans rely on that are considered to be the most unaffordable, much as the state's Public Utilities Commission sets rates for electricity.

Disclosure: Colorado Consumer Health Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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