Gov. Ron DeSantis is reigniting his request that the Biden administration approve the state’s plan to import prescription drugs from Canada.
President Joe Biden on Friday directed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to work with states to safely import prescription drugs from Canada. That was part of a broader executive order the President signed targeting anticompetitive practices in health care, tech and the economy at large.
In a press release, DeSantis took partial credit for the FDA’s prescription drug importation regulations for Medicare. The Governor has been working on a Canadian drug importation program since the first months of his term. And Florida was at the forefront of states submitting plans after then-President Donald Trump cleared a path nearly a year ago.
“In Florida, we’ve led the nation in creating a program to lower prescription drug costs through their importation from Canada,” DeSantis said. “With the issuance of this new executive order directing the FDA to work with states, I expect no further delay in the approval of Florida’s plan to import safe and effective prescription drugs. While Big Pharma and federal bureaucracy have continued to stand in the way, it’s past time Florida taxpayers realized savings on these drugs.”
In late May, DeSantis said Florida had been waiting six months for the federal government to approve his importation plan. He relayed that if the FDA didn’t deny the plan soon to expect regulators to approve it.
Outpatient prescription drug prices nationwide increased from $177 billion to $500 billion between 2003 and 2020. The state estimates its plan could save Floridians between $80 million and $150 million.
In July 2020, Trump signed a series of executive orders to lower drug prices, including allowing states to implement drug importation plans. Trump invited DeSantis to Washington for the event, where he said the Governor has been at the forefront of prescription importation plans.
In September, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a final rule to implement the plan, called the Safe Importation Action Plan.
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which oversees the state’s Medicare program, will be able to start importing drugs within 90 days of the FDA’s approval, according to the Governor’s Office. The state will begin by importing a small number of drugs for chronic conditions like asthma, COPD, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and mental illness. Those drugs will benefit those under the care of the state’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Department of Children and Families, Department of Corrections and Department of Health.