Gov. Polis Applauds Clarity on Pathway to Prescription Drug Importation

Thursday, August 1, 2019

DENVER - Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they are pursuing a Safe Importation Action Plan which outlines the steps the FDA and Health and Human Services will take to permit the importation of prescription drugs into the United States. 

“Coloradans are sick and tired of paying three to ten times as much for the exact same medicine as people in other countries. We are done being ripped off, and are thrilled to see the federal government is moving forward to establish pathways to importing safe, lower cost prescription drugs from other countries,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Importing prescription drugs from Canada and potentially other countries is one of the pillars of our Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care. We hope this process will move forward quickly so Colorado can begin to save people money on prescription drugs soon.”

The Colorado Legislature passed a bill this past legislative session, SB19-005, which directed the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to seek approval for importation from Canada. HCPF has been working to develop an application that seeks federal approval.

The state importation action plan proposes two pathways to importation, one will allow states, pharmacists and wholesalers to import drugs from Canada and the other will allow manufacturers to import from other countries.The first pathway will go through a federal rulemaking process and the second will be implemented with federal guidance.

HCPF has been collaborating with agency leaders from other states that have created similar frameworks for prescription drug importation -- Vermont, Maine and Florida -- to establish methodologies to enable importation. To hasten the timeline to save Coloradans on prescription drugs, the Department will concurrently prepare the state’s draft importation application while the federal government works through the respective rulemaking and guidance processes.