Colorado’s plan to import prescription medicines faces objections from Canada and drug companies |

Colorado’s plan to import prescription medicines faces objections from Canada and drug companies

John Ingold
Colorado Sun
Gov. Jared Polis speaks at a news conference at Denver Health medical center on April 4, 2019, to reissue his health care roadmap from the campaign. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

To Colorado officials charged with developing one of the nation’s first state programs to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, the announcement last month by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar seemed like great news.

Not only was the Trump administration changing course after initially being skeptical of such importation schemes, but it appeared poised to give its blessing to programs under development in Colorado and other states.

“President Trump has been clear: for too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices,” Azar said in a statementannouncing that his department will create rules for how states should go about setting up drug-importation programs.

But then officials in Canada quickly said they hadn’t been consulted on the administration’s announcement and were skeptical of American efforts to divert Canadian drugs. And now Colorado’s plan — which is really just getting started — is already facing some pretty big questions about whether it can deliver on its promise.

As part of a historic session for ambitious health care reforms, lawmakers at the state Capitol this year passed a bill to set up a program to import certain prescription drugs from Canada. In a statement earlier this month, Gov. Jared Polis called the plan one of the key parts of his health care roadmap.

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