Colorado Rules: How One State’s Law Impacts Pharmaceutical Emails

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When you think of Colorado, what comes to mind?

Snow-capped mountains? John Denver lyrics? Pioneers of legal weed?

While those may be among the more familiar associations with The Centennial State (bet you didn’t know that nickname), Colorado holds a different association for pharmaceutical marketers. That’s thanks to the Colorado House Bill 19-1131, which became state law in 2019.

The text of this legislation begins with this stirring summary:

“Concerning a requirement to share the wholesale acquisition cost of a drug when sharing information concerning the drug with another party.”

The law says that whenever a pharmaceutical company provides information to a prescriber about a drug, it must also provide the wholesale acquisition cost of that drug in writing. The law further dictates that the company must provide the names and wholesale acquisition costs of three or more generic drugs in the same therapeutic class as the product being promoted.

This means that any pharmaceutical representative that calls on prescribers in Colorado must offer this information whenever they’re discussing one of their products. The law also applies to other communications with prescribers, such as emails.

Emails directed to prescribers are a staple of pharmaceutical marketing and sales. Given the highly regulated nature of the industry, pharma email communications are subject to strict regulations. Colorado HB19-1131 adds a another layer of complexity to prescriber emails. The law dictates that any email which discusses a product must include the mandated wholesale pricing information for that product and for three alternate choices. And since Colorado has the right to fine a company up to $500,000 for violating HB19-1131, no company wants to risk running afoul of the law.

On the other hand, these companies don’t want to include the Colorado-mandated information in emails to prescribers in the other 49 states. No marketer will jump at the chance to add complexity and competitive information to their communications.

This is a moment when it pays to know your way around Veeva CRM, the system employed by the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies. With the right programming, Veeva CRM can manage approved email communications so that the wholesale acquisition cost information is sent to prescribers in Colorado but not to prescribers in other states. This custom programming is one example of how Veeva CRM, when deployed and managed properly, can be a valuable tool for pharmaceutical marketers.

The Colorado law presents one more potential pitfall in the increasingly complex world of pharmaceutical marketing. But with the right systems, and a little bit of technological know-how, it’s a pitfall that’s easily avoided.

About Conexus

For small- to mid-sized life sciences companies that need to reach and market to healthcare providers, Conexus offers the rare combination of deep life sciences experience with end-to-end support expertise, including a range of marketing support services. These services include patient and HCP videos, copywriting, email templates, Veeva-friendly Core Visual Aids, and more. Clients turn to Conexus for projects large and small when they need fast turnaround, or when their agency is too busy (or too expensive) for a specific project. When it comes to providing marketing support services with value and quality, Conexus serves as “The Team Behind Your Team.”

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