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Florida Senator Rick Scott Announces Plan to Cut Drug Prices, Says This Will not Include Importing Drugs From Other Countries

He said the bill would also require American drug companies to ultimately charge patients the same price they do Canadian and European patients. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
He said the bill would also require American drug companies to ultimately charge patients the same price they do Canadian and European patients. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Two of Florida's leaders have very different ideas about how to make medications more affordable for patients.

Florida Senator Rick Scott introduced the Transparent Drug Pricing Act which would require drug companies to list out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

He says insurance companies would have to do the same releasing the cost of prescription drugs on their plans.

He says this would allow patients to comparison shop for the cheapest medications.

And when patients choose to buy drugs up-front, the cost would be applied to their plan's deductible.

The plan would also require drug companies to charge American patients the same prices they do Canadian and European patients.

"My bill simply requires that drug companies cannot charge American consumers more for prescription drugs than they charge consumers in other industrial nations like Great Britain, Canada, and Germany. Why would we pay more? It's unfair that consumers in other countries get a better deal than patients here in America."

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Scott says the bill does not specify how drug companies and pharmacy managers should work together to drive down these costs. But he says it won't involve importing drugs from other countries.

While Governor Ron Desantis announced last February that he would be calling on the legislature to pass a bill to allowdrugs to be imported from Canada.

"Basically what we're going to be doing is recognize that some of these same drugs if you were just in Canada would be a fraction of the price that we pay here. And so with the authority and process provided in the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act I'll be working with the Trump administration and the legislature to create a prescription drug importation program to bring Floridians less expensive FDA-approved prescription drugs from Canada."

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Three bills that are currently in committee in the state legislature-introduced by Republican Senator Joe Gruters, Republican Senator Aaron Bean, and Republican Representative Tom Leek-would set up such an exchange.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found nearly one in four Americans struggle to pay for medications because current prices are too high.

When participants were asked how they'd like to fix the problem-about 90 percent of Democrats and Republicans wanted to see drug companies list their prices, while about 78 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans wanted to allow people to buy drugs from Canada.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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