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Florida Could be Importing Drugs from Canada Soon in a Bid to Lower Patient Costs


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He says the state will collaborate with the Trump Administration to make certain drugs accessible at a lower cost to patients using the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

He says the state will collaborate with the Trump Administration to make certain drugs accessible at a lower cost to patients using the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons


Governor Ron DeSantis was in the Villages yesterday to announce a new program that will import prescriptions drugs from Canada.

He says the state will collaborate with the Trump Administration to make certain drugs accessible to patients using the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

The law allows Canadian pharmacists and wholesalers that have been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services to import drugs as long as they follow certain regulations including registering with the Department of Health and Human Services, labeling drugs accurately, and testing drugs for authenticity.

HHS can suspend a Canadian company’s ability to import drugs if they are found to be supplying American pharmacies with counterfeits or if they’re mislabeling their products.

But DeSantis says the law has never been used to import drugs from Canada in bulk up to this point.

“So this is something that is 16 years that this has been on the books. And yet it has never been put into practice. And so we’re going to make sure we take all necessary steps to ensure appropriate regulatory protections are in place.”

DeSantis says President Trump is ready to use an executive order if necessary to jump start the program which he says would lower costs for patients in the state.

“Once we get this in place-you as a citizen will be able to have access to more affordable drugs. Businesses will be able to conduct their business in ways that are less costly in terms of what they’re providing their employees. It gives us more availability to provide more tax relief, pay down debt.”

Canadian drugs tend to cost less than American drugs because the Canadian government can set prices directly with drug companies.

A report from the nonprofit The Commonwealth Fund found Americans tend to pay about $1000 per capita for prescription drugs while Canadians pay about $670. But the same study also found prescription drug costs still make up about 15 percent of national healthcare costs in Canada compared to only about 10 percent in the United States.

For now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it’s illegal for most people to import drugs from Canada themselves. That’s unless they have a serious condition and treatment is only available in Canada. But in most cases they can still only take about a three-month supply with them.

If you’d like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.


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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »

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