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Colorado pharmacists fear affording to stock EpiPens after new cost capping state law

Pharmacies still paying high prices from distributors
EpiPen cost cap
Posted at 4:17 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-10 18:18:10-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — A new law allows some Coloradans to only pay $60 for a pack of two EpiPens. For this cost cap, you must not be eligible for Health First Colorado or Medicare.

"Hopefully a lot more people that are in need of the EpiPen, or the generic, are going to be able to access it," said Blende Drug Inc. pharmacist John Cernac.

A few pharmacists said if they have to continue to buy EpiPens from distributors at full price, they may not be able to afford to keep selling them.

"To give it to a patient at 60 dollars . . . we're just losing money," said Medicine Shoppe pharmacist, Barry Patterson.

Right now, they're buying a pack of two for around $600. This is forcing them to rely more on the generic brand for about half the cost.

"You want to take care of the public but you still can't lose $240 on every [prescription] you send out the door, so something has to be done," said Patterson.

"If we're gonna lose money, we may not just wanna fill it if we're going to lose that much," said Cernac.

"You're stuck in the middle what do you do, who pays for that," said another pharmacist who wants to be anonymous.

They said they need to be anonymous for fear of losing their job over a gag order in their contract.

They said they worry about eating the cost difference. "I work a second job to pay my bills and it's not fair."

These pharmacists are asking for full reimbursements of EpiPens so they can keep stock and stay in business.

"We have pharmacies closing left and right, it doesn't look good."

"There's been so many independents gone out in the last five or six years unfortunately, it is because of lower reimbursement cost," said Patterson.

The State House Committee of Health and Insurance said the law required manufacturers to reimburse pharmacies. The pharmacists I spoke with said they're unaware of how that will work.

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