Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is asking the Biden administration to approve a plan that would allow for the importation of FDA-approved Canadian prescription drugs to the Sunshine State, which would lower costs, according to the governor.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis called on the Biden Administration and leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve Florida’s Section 804 Importation Proposal (SIP) for Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program,” a Friday press release said.
“The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and its partners are ready to launch the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program, leading the nation with our implementation progress,” it continued.
According to the release, the program, which can be implemented within 90 days of approval, would start by administering Canadian drugs to patients with chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, or HIV/AIDS. The patients who would receive the drugs are under the care of various agencies of the state of Florida, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Corrections.
The goal drug importation program is to acquire drugs at low cost, and eventually expand it to major healthcare services like Medicaid.
DeSantis touted the work of the Florida Legislature in passing the bill that would allow for the implementation of the program.
“In 2019, the Florida Legislature passed several pieces of legislation, including Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program, to reform our health care market by increasing transparency, empowering patients, and reducing costs,” DeSantis said.
“Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program will improve access to essential medications to our most vulnerable citizens and potentially save the state between $80 to $150 million in the first year alone,” he continued. “Today, we are calling on the Biden Administration to act immediately to approve Florida’s plan that will ultimately help drive down costs for taxpayers.”
More than 20 states are already seeking a similar arrangement with Canada.
Colorado, for example, is pursuing the ability to import Canadian drugs, and that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing says that the program would be both safe and cost effective.
“The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) Section 804 permits importation and reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada by a pharmacist or wholesaler, provided the drugs meet certain minimum standards, will pose no additional risk to the public’s health and safety, and results in a significant reduction in costs to consumers,” that organization said.
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