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Drug Importation in Colorado: An Overview

map of colorado with pill bottle displaying a maple leaf label. The label peels back to show a poison symbol


In May 2019, the Governor of Colorado signed SB19-005, a bill which creates a "Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program" in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

first page of colorado SIP analysis

Read PSM's analysis of Colorado's March 2020 Draft Importation Plan

Current status:

In August 2022, Colorado issued an update identifying three vendors to carry out the state importation program.

Colorado published a draft proposal of the program in March 2020 along with comments to HHS on the proposed federal importation guidelines. Their comments revealed that the architects of the plan don't think importation can work financially as designed because of the small size of the Canadian drug supply and the cost requirements of testing.

PSM has documented several problems with the draft proposal for Colorado's program in this analysis.

How should we evaluate this program?

The program hasn't started yet so there's no way to measure whether it saved money or kept patients safe, both promises made at the time of passage. However, the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act contains requirements for safety requirements built into any such program.

Official actions and statements

Planning documents

Op-eds from the Experts

A Colorado Woman Was Seriously Ill. No One Suspected Her Imported Drugs.

February 5, 2019

In this February 4th, 2019 editorial for Colorado Politics, Denver resident Ali Schroer warns, “I experienced firsthand the dangers of counterfeit, imported drugs, and was critically ill for months as we sought to uncover the source of my illness.”