New Colorado Law Requires Manufacturer Sales Reps to Provide Prescribers with Pricing and Generic Information

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Colorado Governor Jared S. Polis signed an Act into law that starting August 2nd 2019 requires drug manufacturers to make certain information available to prescribers. The legislation, Colorado House Bill 19-1131, Prescription Drug Cost Education concerning the drug with another party, requires drug manufacturers to provide – in writing – the wholesale acquisition cost of a prescription drug to the prescriber with whom the drug manufacturer is sharing information concerning the drug.

This means when a pharmaceutical representative goes into a health care prescriber’s office, they will be required to not only provide information on the legally-approved FDA language on drug efficacy and safety, but also the wholesale acquisition cost of the drug.

The law also requires drug manufacturers to provide educational materials with the name and acquisition cost of at least three generic prescription drugs in the same therapeutic class, if available. If there are not three generic prescription drugs available, the manufacturer is to provide the names and acquisition cost information for as many as are available for prescriptive use.

Proponents of the law argue that physicians are not given cost comparisons when brand name drugs are being marketed. By requiring manufacturers to provide cost information about other drugs in the same therapeutic class, prescribers will have a full range of information about the drugs they prescribe which “will also allow physicians to take cost information into consideration when making prescribing decisions, enabling them to consider lower-cost alternatives and helping to contain prescription drug costs.”

According to the American Economic Association and the American Medical Association, physicians are typically unaware of the price of brand name drugs and tend to overestimate the cost of generics. This bill will help to close that knowledge gap and educate prescribers about the current prices of both brand and generic medications in the same class.

The law will take effect on August 2, 2019, barring any petitions filed pursuant to section 1 (3) of article V of the Colorado state constitution. Should a petition be filed, the act, item, section, or part petitioned against will not take effect unless approved in the November 2020 general election.

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