COLORADO (KRDO) -- The state is in the final stretch of implementing Colorado's Canadian Drug Importation Program—which will import lower cost medications from Canada to the state—announcing key partnerships Thursday morning with the wholesalers that will import and export prescription drugs.
With the partnerships established, Colorado will submit an application to the Federal Drug Administration. Once the state's application is approved, Governor Jared Polis tells KRDO the program's implementation will save consumers and employers an average of 60% or higher on prescription medications.
"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," said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera in a press release Thursday morning.
Colorado and Florida are the only states in the country who have completed and are ready to submit their FDA applications, aiming to sidestep the federal government in importing medications directly to Colorado from Canada. The state plans to submit the application this fall.
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing is partnering with AdiraMedica LLC in Ontario, Canada as the foreign seller and exporter, Premiere Pharmaceuticals LLC in Boise, Idaho as the state importer, and Denver's Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety to regulate consumer inquiries and FDA adverse event reporting.
Polis says that many drugs consumers rely on here in the United States are made in other countries, but the prices are often three times higher once the medication is imported than the prices outside of the U.S.
Polis says importing directly from Canada will cut prices significantly, and the prescription drugs will all be subject to additional testing for authenticity and degradation.
The Governor signed SB19-005 last year to set Colorado's Canadian Importation Program in motion. If the application is approved, savings will reach Coloradans in the middle of next year.