DENVER (KDVR) — Lawmakers on the left and right at the state Capitol have said over and over that they want to make living in the state more affordable. One of their first efforts in doing that is through a bill introduced during the first week of the session. It would cap the cost of one expensive and life-saving medicine.
Sam Gilman is the president of the Community Economic Defense Project. He also uses an epinephrine auto-injector in case he encounters a severe allergic reaction.
Over the years, Gilman has seen the price of the device skyrocket.
“I’ve had life-threatening food allergies to peanuts as long as I can remember,” Gilman said. “Since 2007 until now, the prices have raised 664% and the cost of an EpiPen is 43 times less than the price. In other words, every pen costs 43 times what it costs to make, and quite frankly, it’s outrageous.”
First-year Rep. Javier Mabrey is sponsoring the second house bill introduced this session. It would cap the costs that insured patients pay for epinephrine injectors in the state at $60.
Mabrey said lawmakers will use the similar path they took to cap the price of insulin at $100 back in 2019.
“If in Colorado, in a bipartisan way, we can come together and say that it’s unacceptable when it comes to insulin, we should be able to say, in a bipartisan way, that is unacceptable when it comes to EpiPens as well,” Mabrey said. “That insulin bill got bipartisan support, so I believe we’re going to get some bipartisan support on this legislation.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said one in 13 children suffer from a food allergy. Mabrey said he decided to back the legislation after hearing from concerned teachers he now represents.
“They try not to use the EpiPen because if they use the EpiPen, then they have to charge parents and often the school she teaches in, which is in southwest Denver, my district. The parents are economically struggling and a $500, $600 charge means the difference of making rent or not,” Mabrey said.
After being introduced in the House, the bill now waits to be heard by the Health and Insurance Committee.