Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – Mar. 2019

By Doris Beaver ~

Senate Bill 19-005:
As introduced, SB 002 creates new Article 51 in Title 25 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, to be known as the “Colorado Wholesale Importation of Prescription Drugs Act” for the exclusive benefit of Colorado residents. The legislative declaration points out:

  • United States consumers pay some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, and it is estimated that United States consumers pay twice as much as the amount Canadian consumers pay for patented prescription drugs and twenty percent more for generic drugs; and
  • Federal law, as codified in 21 U.S.C. sec. 384, authorizes the secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to allow wholesale importation of prescription drugs from Canada if such importation is shown to be both safe and less costly for United States consumers.

The pharmaceuticals industry and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration have long joined forces to fight the importation of drugs from foreign countries on the basis there may be risks posed to consumer health and safety if the source, quality, and purity of prescription drugs sold by online pharmacies cannot be verified.

SB 005 addresses that issue by referencing Title II of the federal “Drug Quality and Security Act,” Pub. L. 113-54, referred to as the “Drug Supply Chain Security Act,” as having significantly improved drug security and safety through a system of pharmaceutical product track-and-trace procedures.

The process will be lengthy, with a draft report on a wholesale importation program for prescription pharmaceutical products from Canada is due to the General Assembly by January 2020. The fiscal analysis notes that,”if federal approval for the program is received, the importation of prescription pharmaceuticals will begin July 2, 2021.”

The bill is yet to have its first committee hearing.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 19-005: Senator Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver) 866-2906; and Representative Sonya Jacques Lewis (D-Boulder) 866-2920.

Senate Bill 19-073:
SB 073, if passed and enacted, would require the Department of Public Health and Environment to create and administer a statewide electronic system that allows qualified individuals to upload and access advance medical directives – a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.

SB 073 specifies a number of must do’s for the Department:

  • Ensure that qualified individuals may access the system for treatment purposes that are allowed under the federal “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-191, as amended;
  • Must contract with one or more health information organization networks for the administration and maintenance of the system; and
  • Promulgate rules in accordance with Article 4 of Title 24 to administer the provisions of this new Article 51 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, including establishing criteria for qualified individuals to have access to the system and advance medical directives, add or remove a directive from system, and access and download a directive from the system.

As readers might imagine, safeguards for such a system are of grave importance:

  • procedures and safeguards for ensuring the confidentiality and secure storage of the information contained in advance medical directives that is added to and maintained in the system;
  • the individual whose medial treatment is the subject of the advance medical directive or the authorized surrogate is responsible for ensuring that the advance medical directive uploaded to the system is appropriately executed, current and accurate; and
  • emergency medical service personnel, an individual health care provider, a health care facility or any other person or entity that complies with an advance medical directive accessed from the system is not subject to civil or criminal liability or regulatory sanction for action taken in accordance with the advance medical directive.

SB 073 is yet to have its first committee meeting.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 19-073: Senator Joann Ginal (D-Larimer) 866-4841; and Representative Lois Landgraf (R-El Paso) 866-2946/

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver is a freelance journalist who writes from her home high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on senior issues, politics, ethics and environmental issues. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at doris@dorisbeaver.com.