Owens threatens to veto mail-order pharmacy bill

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DENVER (AP) Gov. Bill Owens threatened Monday to veto a measure that would require insurance companies to charge the same copayment for prescription drugs picked up at a pharmacy as for those ordered by mail.

Owens contended the bill would make it financially unfeasible to buy medicine by mail in Colorado, which would hurt older citizens on fixed incomes who rely on mail deliveries, which typically are cheaper.

"It's a bill I have strong concerns about, meaning it may be headed for a veto," Owens said during an interview on KOA-AM radio.

Collon Kennedy, a spokesman for the Public Employees Retirement Association representing more than 40,000 state employees, said if the bill were enacted into law, the cost of medication would rise for everyone.

"The system now allows us to negotiate with a mail order provider for a cheaper cost. Our insurance carrier gives us an incentive to go to mail order because it has a cheaper rate," Kennedy said.

Mark Kinney, executive director of Rx PLUS Pharmacies, a pharmacy trade organization, said independent pharmacists support House Bill 1320 because they pay rent, respond to emergency requests for medication and provide advice to customers.

Insurance companies allow clients who opt for mail drug delivery to pay two copayments for three months instead of three co-payments, one for each month's worth of medication.

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