HCPF is “working hard” on negotiations for Canadian drug importation program


Eli Kirshbaum


Nearly seven months after the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) released the invitation to negotiate (ITN) for its Canadian Prescription Drug Importation program, the department’s executive director Kim Bimestefer says they are “working hard” and currently hashing out the program’s details.


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The ITN closed in April, and since then HCPF has been evaluating the responses it received from vendors. Bimestefer gave a status update on the program in a webinar hosted by HCPF on Thursday.

“We issued an invitation to negotiate, we got a lot of wonderful proposals back, and we’re in negotiations and have hired consultants in both Canada and here in the states to help us.”

Bimestefer said HCPF is using Coloradan and Canadian experts to identify which drugs to import and which manufacturers to buy the drugs from.

The program — the result of 2019 legislation — permits Colorado to import certain prescription drugs from Canada in order to save Coloradans money on skyrocketing drug costs. HCPF projects Colorado will save an average of 60% on imported drugs.

“There isn’t a playbook for this. We are first out and leading the nation … we have our experts working on it and our pharmacy office [working on it], and we’re in negotiations for which drugs to import.”

The department is expected to pick a vendor at the end of this year, have an approved importation program by the end of the summer of 2022, and begin importation a few months after that.

“All parts of the system are working through the process of making those selections [and] decisions in consultation with good consultants to make sure that it works in the best interest of our employers and for our consumers and our Coloradans.”