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Partnerships Mark Significant Milestone Towards Implementing Colorado’s Canadian Drug Importation Program

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. Courtesy logo

In a press release Thursday, the Polis-Primavera administration and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) announced partnerships with key supply chain partners.

The partnerships will help Colorado realize the importation of lower-cost medications from Canada to save people money, while ensuring the health and safety of Coloradans. The medications will be sold to Colorado consumers through participating Colorado pharmacies.

Consumers Might Save 60 Percent on Prescriptions

Once approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Colorado’s Canadian Importation Program, aims to save consumers and employers an average of more than 60 percent on prescription medications.

“Saving people money and lowering health care costs has been a top priority of our administration since day one, and now we have a major piece in place to make drugs more affordable. Colorado’s Drug Importation Program is an important step to lowering the cost of prescription drugs and keeping more money in people’s pockets,” said Governor Jared Polis.

After conducting an in-depth analysis of Colorado drug prices versus those in Canada and beyond, HCPF found that expanding importation to other countries, like France or Australia, could deliver even higher savings — an average of 84 percent and 78 percent, respectively. With this in mind, last year Governor Polis signed the bipartisan SB21-123, which authorized the HCPF to expand drug importation to other trade partner countries, if and when federal law is amended to allow this.

The supply chain of the Colorado Canadian Drug Importation Program

Three Partners Join With the State to Make Colorado’s Drug Importation program a Reality

AdiraMedica LLC, a U.S. wholesaler and their subsidiary located in Ontario, Canada will serve as the primary channel with Canadian manufacturers. They will purchase the products for Colorado’s program and ensure they meet specifications for exportation to the United States.

Premier Pharmaceuticals LLC, a U.S. wholesaler located in Boise, Idaho will be Colorado’s importer. They will be the primary distributor and will sell the medications to participating Colorado pharmacies. Additionally, Premier manages key aspects of the program, including partnering with a qualified laboratory and relabeler to ready products for the Colorado market.

Finally, Denver’s Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety (RMPDS) will be responsible for all FDA-required, adverse event reporting as well as responding to consumer inquiries. RMPDS has been a leader in public health since 1956.

Photo by Ksenia-Yakovleva on Unsplash

Rx Supply Chain is Already an International One

Coloradans and their employers are paying much more for the same prescription drugs than their Canadian counterparts.

Drug importation from Canada will allow Colorado consumers and employers to pay a fair price for their medications. And, “If you look closely at the labels on prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, you will find many prescriptions are already manufactured in other countries,” said Kim Bimestefer, HCPF Executive Director.

Indeed, the FDA indicates 78 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients (the ingredients used to make the finished product) are foreign-made. All drugs imported through the program will be subject to additional testing for authenticity and degradation. “Our Canadian Drug Importation program will not only reduce the cost of prescription drugs to the benefit of Coloradans and our employers, but will do so safely and in compliance with all federal safety guidelines,” added Bimestefer.

Another Step Forward But Rollout Date Not Yet Set

While program rollout timing is still undetermined, HCPF is finalizing the state’s importation application for submission to the FDA this fall.

“I know firsthand the burden and stress high health care costs can place on families across our state, which is why I am so excited to see this big step forward in making the cost of prescription drugs more affordable and accessible through the Colorado Canadian Drug Importation Program,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera and the Director of the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care.

“The Polis-Primavera administration and The Office of Saving People Money on Health Care are committed to creating new innovative ways to ensure all Coloradans have access to high quality and affordable health care.”

More information on the Canadian Drug Importation Program is available here.