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Gov. Jared Polis Signs Law To Import Prescription Drugs From Canada & International Markets

DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado is at the front of the pack as states across the country look to lower prescription drug costs.

"This will help the people with the highest cos medication on a monthly basis, be able to afford those medications, and take them at the prescribed dose," said Rep. Karen McCormick (D-Longmont) one of the law's sponsors.

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In 2019, Colorado started working on a plan to buy drugs in bulk in Canada and pass the cheaper prices onto citizens. On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis signed a law expanding the program to other international markets.

"This is really a targeted approach where specific, predominantly brand name drugs, because that's where the savings will be had," McCormick said. "We are talking about the exact same drug. That was made in the exact same way at the same exact FDA approved facility."

The state is still hoping federal action can allow it to establish a pipeline with wholesalers and distributors in Canada. It's also finalizing plans on exactly which drugs will be purchased.

"It's just a new way of getting them here where we can also take advantage of the pricing and pass that pricing along to our consumers," McCormick said.

A few years ago, Ann Griffin's doctor recommended she get her hormone replacement therapy from a pharmacy in Canada and shipped to Denver. It's a move that has saved her hundreds of dollars each year.

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"If he's going to save me that much money every year for the rest of my life. I'm grateful," Griffin said.

Before she was paying around $600 a year after conquering thyroid cancer. Now her costs from Canada are about $150 including shipping.

"I would totally get it from here if it was available for the same cost," Griffin said.

Lawmakers hope this is the beginning of reigning in some of the highest costs in the world.

"This will allow more people to have access to their critical medications that they need," McCormick said.

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