It’s Easier To Believe

When I talk to people or watch the news, it’s easy to sense the despair and anxiety.  Many call it a “panic,” but it’s really a mixture of so many emotions. Seeing landmarks empty or experiencing isolation at home can fill us with fear and sadness.  But I want to challenge us all to look at things from a different perspective. 

As you probably know, my Bubby was an inspiration for my campaign to serve as our Attorney General.  After giving birth to my mother in a Nazi concentration camp, she taught my mom--and later me--the importance of hope in dark times. When I asked her how she survived such unimaginable hardship, she told me simply, “It’s easier to believe.” 

That belief and hope is what we need right now. 

We are living in a time of hardship, but those empty landmarks are demonstrations of people trying to help their neighbors.  Your time social distancing might save someone else’s grandmother. This epidemic especially targets the elderly, so all those empty schools show our youngest generation helping to save their elders. 

Seen in this light, deserted landmarks are a thing of beauty because they represent us looking out for each other. 

We cannot deny the hardship and fear of these times. For those who work in food service and rely on tips to put meals on their own family tables. For those who deal with depression. For those whose age or preexisting condition makes them afraid for their lives. 

That’s why I’m so grateful that Governor Polis took quick and decisive action on testing and protective measures, and why it’s so meaningful to see many leaders in government, nonprofit, and business put Colorado’s spirit of community problem solving to work. In the Attorney General’s office, we have created a Coronavirus Task Force to confront this crisis. You can read more about our work here.

In our times of hardship, I am inspired by these words from Scripture: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”  All Coloradans will need to do what they can to limit the spread of this virus and support one another. It is challenging, and my heart is with every mother and father who is worried about paying the bills and every person who fears for their safety and the safety of their family. But I pray that we can stay positive and remember that “it’s easier to believe.” We can get through this together--even if we are keeping our social distance (staying six feet apart from one another). 

I will close with some lines from a poem that has been making the rounds online. Written by a monk in Ireland, it ends with thoughts on people in Italy who have chosen to sing across their balconies as they stay indoors for the greater good: 

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.”

Thank you for your engagement and for supporting me in serving the people of Colorado. And thank you for all the sacrifices you are making so that we can believe in—and protect—a better future. 

Phil

https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe

https://www.cdc.gov/

 


Community During the Time of Coronavirus

In Colorado, we are committed to leading the way in responding to this crisis by developing data-driven, thoughtful, creative, and responsible measures to confront an array of new challenges.  At the Attorney General’s Office, we set up a special Coronavirus Task Force in February to coordinate our response efforts. AG’s Office team members, and public servants statewide, have been working day and night—and weekends—and under new conditions (namely, working remotely) to serve the people of Colorado during this crisis.  I am more proud than ever of their service.

Our Consumer Protection team is working vigilantly to protect Coloradans from those who would spread misinformation and take advantage of others during this crisis.  Last week, we put out our first ever Consumer Alert advisory, encouraging Coloradans to be careful of scammers and to get information about the crisis from reputable sources, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environmentthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the World Health Organization websites.  And when you hear of scams—whether fake cures, fraudulent charities, or phishing attempts to gain access to your personal information—please report them to Stop Fraud Colorado at 800-222-4444 or www.StopFraudColorado.gov so we can protect Coloradans from scammers and hold bad actors accountable.

This pandemic is a new challenge that will require a strong commitment from all of us to mitigate and manage the impacts of the virus.  All of our actions—in how we care for each other—will have a direct and powerful effect on how the virus plays out. While social distancing is essential for containing the virus, we must also stay more connected as a community than ever before. Take the extra few minutes to call, text, or email a friend or neighbor to let them know you are thinking about them. As Coloradans, where collaborative problem solving is core to who we are, we will get through this challenging time together.

 

 

 


Colorado Joins 43 Other States in Lawsuit Alleging Generic Drug Manufacturers Conspired to Inflate Prices

The Denver Post

Colorado is one of 44 states that filed a lawsuit Friday against generic drug manufacturers alleging they violated state and federal laws by conspiring to fix prices and stop competitors, resulting in generic drug costs rising significantly. People are struggling to pay for the medication they need, leading to the birth of services like Blink Health which offers a base online price for a number of prescription medications in an effort to make sure they're still accessible to people.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, alleges that 20 pharmaceutical companies - including Teva Pharmaceutical, Sandoz, Mylan and Pfizer - "embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States."

Teva and other companies raised prices between July 2013 and January 2015 on about 112 generic drugs - some with price increases of more than 1,000 percent, according to the complaint. The lawsuit called it an overarching conspiracy that attempted to thwart competition in the generic drug industry and resulted in inflated drug prices.

"This conduct has resulted in many billions of dollars of overcharges to the Plaintiff States and others, and has had a significant negative impact on our national health and economy," the lawsuit stated.

The state of Connecticut began investigating the skyrocketing drug prices, leading to the lawsuit and other states signing onto it.

The lawsuit asks for a stop to the alleged illegal practices, civil penalties and an unspecified amount in damages.

The companies coordinated with each other and systematically fixed prices, divided market shares and rigged bids for the drugs, according to the Colorado Attorney General's Office in a news release.

The inflated prices of the generic drugs encompassed various types of drugs used to treat numerous diseases, including basic infections, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD and others.

"The conspiracy was wide-ranging and well-orchestrated, characterized by a number of blatant acts to cover up the agreement to limit competition between direct competitors," the news release stated.

A representative for Teva Pharmaceutical USA Inc. did not immediately return a request for comment Sunday. A spokesman for Teva, a subsidiary of Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Teva refuted the allegations.

"The allegations in this new complaint, and in the litigation more generally, are just that - allegations," Kelley Dougherty, a Teva vice president, said in the statement to the AP. "The company delivers high-quality medicines to patients around the world and is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations in doing so."

Fifteen senior executives were also named in the lawsuit, which alleges that the executives knew what they were doing was unlawful - and tried to cover up communications - but continued to share pricing information and business plans, violating antitrust laws.

"Many Coloradans are struggling to pay for the prescription drugs they need to treat disease or maintain their health. This complaint presents strong and convincing evidence about how the generic drug industry created and enforced a culture of collusion to perpetrate a multi-billion dollar fraud on consumers," Weiser said in the release.

He added that the companies need to be held accountable for their actions, and he called the case "breath-taking both on account of its impact on consumers and the brazen conduct undertaken by the defendants."

The news release cites a 2017 Colorado Health Access survey that noted more than 500,000 Colorado residents didn't fill prescriptions that year because of costs. The inflated costs also affected Medicare and Medicaid, according to the release. Colorado usually has a good track record when it comes to legal issues regarding drugs, as it was one of the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana, allowing people to purchase such products from sites such as https://rmblaze.com/ on the internet. However, in this instance, it appears Colorado is not the only state to have issues with drug manufacturers.

Another lawsuit filed in 2016 in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is also pending, and two former executives entered into settlement agreements.

Read more on DenverPost.com