Florida suing FDA to get approval for Canadian drugs in Florida

'You know, people use drugs in Canada. This is not Djibouti.'

Charging that the federal government is dragging its feet despite assurances from President Joe Biden, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Florida is suing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to let Florida import some prescription drugs from Canada.

The Governor, Attorney General and others complained in a news conference in Lakeland that the FDA is holding up approval of Florida’s application that now has been pending for more than 630 days.

“This has been a frustrating process from the macro to the micro. My team and I have had so many meetings with the FDA it’s not even funny. But all we’ve gotten is word salad,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller.

The frustration is over an application the DeSantis administration filed with the FDA in late 2020 — when former President Donald Trump was still in office — to allow a limited number of lower-priced Canadian prescribed drugs to be shipped to Florida to be distributed through state agencies.

DeSantis and Marstiller said the program could save up to $150 million a year in costs on those drugs, as the same products are being sold in the United States for twice or more of what they cost through Canada.

Moody announced the lawsuit to force the FDA to provide more information about why Florida’s application has not yet been approved.

DeSantis said the standard objection has been concerns over safety of Canadian drugs, compared with American drugs. He scoffed at that, saying Florida officials would be testing the drugs for content and purity at facilities like Lakeland’s LifeScience Logistics Distribution Center, which hosted his press conference.

“Basically, they tried to say this is a safety issue. You know, people use drugs in Canada. This is not Djibouti,” DeSantis said, referring to the east African nation. “It’s a safe country.”

The Governor has been working on a Canadian drug importation program since the first months of his term. In late 2020, Florida became the first state to formally request approval of the program. In July 2022 Biden issued an executive order directing the FDA to work with states to safely import prescription drugs from Canada.

More than a year later, DeSantis was asking why the delay and silence from the FDA linger. He charged that “big Pharma” is preventing the Biden administration from carrying out Biden’s order. The Agency for Health Care Administration filed a public records request to the FDA in July seeking information, but has not heard back yet.

That’s why Moody filed the federal lawsuit, which asks a federal judge to end any delays in the FDA approval and to approve Florida’s program. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.

“They have unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed approval of Florida’s program and we think this violates federal law,” DeSantis said.

Florida’s plan is for limited access to Canadian drugs. It would allow for importation of a specific list of pills for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which would be distributed by state agencies such as the Department of Health, to patients who receive their prescription drugs through such agencies.

“We started with a limited number of drugs,” Marstiller said.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Paul Passarelli

    August 31, 2022 at 11:40 am

    At some point it might be more effective to simply ignore the FDA bureaucrats and just import the drugs. If the FDA inspectors become too troublesome, eject them from the state… well you know what I mean, just close the buildings they occupy.

    • Impeach Biden

      August 31, 2022 at 11:42 am

      Now how will the Dems spin this one? This is positive news for all Floridian’s

      • Charlie Crist

        August 31, 2022 at 1:17 pm

        @Impeach: Yeah need cheaper suppositories for Fat Cammack’s aphrodisiacs!!!!! 😂

      • Mr. Haney

        September 2, 2022 at 8:54 am

        What will your next lie be?

    • SteveHC

      August 31, 2022 at 11:49 am

      – All of what Mr. Passarelli suggests would be blatantly illegal, yes? …well, you know what I mean, just eject from society anybody who would do such things… well, you know what I mean, just throw them in jail… 😉

      • Paul Passarelli

        August 31, 2022 at 2:02 pm

        Just because something is legal, that doesn’t make it right. The murder of Jews was legal in NAZI Germany.

        Just because something is illegal doesn’t make it wrong. Helping slaves flee along the underground railroad.

        Ignoring the bureaucratic mess caused by the FDA is not nearly su serious os my examples. It’s the defiance of a bureaucrat’s procedural requirement to fill out a form, or worse, wait for someone else to fill out a form with 30 days of ‘allowance’ between check-boxes.

    • TrueAmerican56

      August 31, 2022 at 4:44 pm

      Interesting that when Biden was wanting to negotiate drug prices for all America, DeSantis was against it. Importing from Canada could be interesting, wonder how long it will last, there are a lot of stupid things that could happen with that. Canada could stop it at some point, drug companies could cut down on the amount of drugs Canada could have, drugs could become scarce for Canadian drug users, Canada could stop subsidizing drugs for Canadians.

    • Mr. Haney

      September 2, 2022 at 8:53 am

      Where do you idiots come from?

      • Paul Passarelli

        September 2, 2022 at 9:36 am

        Amazing! A dozen years and 1100 miles away and you are still trolling from the Left. And still adding *NOTHING* to the discussions.

  • PeterH

    August 31, 2022 at 11:56 am

    I’ve been buying prescription medications from Canada for five years. Go online and type in Canadian online pharmacies.

  • Ashley

    August 31, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    You know who doesn’t want Florida to steal their drugs? CANADA. We started enacting laws to stop the USA from stealing our medications years ago when Donald first suggested doing this. We make enough for us, we cannot support the USA. The caravans to Canada from before 2020 were already making it harder for OUR CITIZENS to get the medications they needed because Americans would cross the boarder, buy up the insulin and such in the boarder cities, and leave very little on the shelves for our people. Stop stealing our medications instead of forcing pharmaceutical companies to stop price gouging your citizens. Florida has like 21 million people, Canada has 36 million. WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TO PROVIDE WELFARE TO THE USA. Fix your own problems instead of stealing from us

  • Paul Passarelli

    August 31, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    Um, Ashley, (if that’s your real name)
    Buying goods that are offered for sale is not stealing.

    But on the other point, overpriced in the USA I half agree with you. The problem is the litigious nature of the US brought upon by the shitty elected officials (Democrats) that like to insist that drug companies provide “Free Drugs” to a significant portion of the population.

    The system is seriously screwed up but it’s the rules that have made the mess, not the players.

    • Tom

      August 31, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      Are you the guy who ran for office in Connecticut, who only received 1% of the vote? I wonder why.

      • Paul Passarelli

        August 31, 2022 at 7:31 pm

        {phooey — Editor failure}

        And I was going to mention that in 2012 the D & R candidates spent a combines $100 million for that CT Senate seat. I didn’t even come close in that regard.

  • Paul Passarelli

    August 31, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Yes, I am! And proud of it as well. That 1% was more than triple what was expected from a Libertarian Party candidate. Simple fact I was and remain the highest LP vote getter in CT to date. In the year I ran I got more votes in CT the the LP Presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

    I can tell you why. I believe it was because my message was harsh. Every Libertarian that ran before me tried to appeal to the dumb masses, it didn’t work. That game only works for Democrats in the form of pandering, and Republicans in the form of austerity.

    But in CT Democrats outnumbered Republicans >2:1, and registered Libertarians were somewhere between 1400 & 1500 statewide in 2011.

Comments are closed.


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