Date: 03/05/2009



Votes: View--> Action Taken:

04:14 PM -- Senate Bill 09-132

Representative Kerr presented Senate Bill 09-132 which repeals and re-enacts the Colorado Cares Rx Program. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing is required to research and make information available to the public about discount prescription drug programs including ways to obtain lower-cost prescription drugs and contact information for programs.

04:20 PM --
Kelly Fritz, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), stated that they have concerns about the bill. She stated that Senate Bill 07-001, the authorizing legislation for the Colorado Cares Rx program, was not implemented as intended. She stated that the introduced version of Senate Bill 09-132 repealed the program completely. She stated that the reengrossed bill keeps the program alive, but only as an educational tool for discount drug cards which are supported by the pharmacies. Ms. Fritz said one of their concerns is that Wal-Mart of Target could change the Preferred Drug List (PDL) program at any time. She also stated that the state did not enter into a multi-purchasing pool which in her opinion hurt the program.

04:27 PM --
Brad Young, RxPlus Pharmacies, expressed his concern with the bill. He stated that the retail pharmacists had some concern that they would have to bear the brunt of the 'discount' provided to consumers. He provided a printout of a website called Pharmacy and the and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing's website reference to "Prescription Drug Discount Resources" (Attachments A and B respectively). After checking the department's website describing the prescription drug discount resources, he stated there is no link to independent pharmacies and that one links is to a website called Pharmacy Checkers. He stated that Pharmacy Checkers is an on-line pharmacy for the purpose of importing drugs. He stated that in all cases importation of drugs through an on-line pharmacy is illegal under federal law. He stated he has some concerns with the state's website leading individuals to a website that supports illegal activities.

09HouseHHS0305AttachA.pdf 09HouseHHS0305AttachB.pdf

04:40 PM --
Paula Rhoads, traumatic brain injury patient, asked how the program was advertised. She showed the committee several of her own prescriptions and asked if the committee could determine which were on the Wal-Mart preferred drug list. She stated that without her medications she would likely be in prison. She stated that if the program provides medications to low-income individuals, she supports the program.

04:46 PM --
Chris Underwood, Director, State Programs and Federal Financing Division, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and Kerri Coffey, Pharmacy Program Administrator, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, spoke to the implementation of the Colorado Cares Rx Program. Ms. Coffey provided a historical timeline of the implementation of the program. She stated that the original implementation plan included using the Colorado Benefits Management System to verify eligibility for enrollment into the program. She stated that during the process, the department incurred several cost and time issues. She stated that since the program was to be self-funded, the department had to look to other avenues to implement the program. Ms. Coffey stated that since the department was not the direct purchaser or payer of the drugs, it would not be able to negotiate discounted prescription drugs prices. She stated that the department would have had to contract with each individual pharmacy to negotiate and receive a discount on prescription drugs. Ms. Coffey stated that the department decided that the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to create the program would be to use a company with an existing preferred drug list program. She stated that the department entered into a one-year trial no-cost agreement with Express Scripts. Ms. Coffey stated that the one-year agreement has expired and Express Scripts has indicated they do not want to continue the partnership with the department. She stated the department has found no other programs or ideas that would be practical to implement. She suggested other ways in which the department could provide information to the state regarding low-cost prescription drug coverage. She acknowledged that the bill was not implemented as many had expected.

04:51 PM -- Responding to Representative Green's question regarding why the department did not enter into a multi-purchasing pool, Ms. Coffey stated that the department did not find it would receive discounted prices for prescription drugs if it entered into a multi-purchasing pool. She stated that in order to enter into multi-purchasing agreements it required funding, and given that the program is self-funded, it was not a viable option. Mr. Underwood explained how a multi-purchasing pool operates. He stated that there is no evidence that shows a multi-purchasing pool provides cheaper drugs. Mr. Underwood explained that the Maine Rx program, which was referred to in Ms. Fritz's testimony as a successful state run preferred drug list program, used state dollars to fund the program. He stated that Colorado does not have the General Funds dollars, as Maine did, to fund the program.

05:13 PM

Mr. Underwood responded to committee questions regarding the implementation of the program and how the funds that were appropriated to the program were used. Mr. Underwood stated that the program was marketed, but that the department was behind the private market in launching the program. He stated that private companies such as, King Soopers, Safeway, Wal-Mart, and Target, provided discount drugs through a preferred drug list program prior to the department launching its program. He stated that he does not know if the department could administer a program that is cheaper, if not comparable, to the private market's programs for low-cost drugs. Mr. Underwood stated his main concern at this point is that the department is not in compliance with the law and that is the main focus of Senate Bill 09-132, to bring the department into compliance.

05:22 PM

The was pulled off the table and will be heard for action only on Monday, March 9, 2009.