TAMPA, Florida – Plans to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada have been in the works for years. In Florida, it could finally happen sooner than many realize – perhaps as early as early next year.
Florida Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marsiller recently told a state Senate panel, “Hopefully we can start importing in the first quarter of the new year.
The fact that, while they differ in everything else, President Joe Biden and Governor Ron DeSantis both support her.
“If you have drugs in Canada, the same drug costs 25 percent of what it costs here. We want Floridians to be able to share those discounts,” DeSantis said.
A RAND study looked at drug prices in nearly 40 countries and found that the United States pays more than all prescription drugs. Average prices have risen by about 250% in the United States or, as President Biden recently noted, “about two to three times what other countries pay.”
In the United States, insurance companies cover most of the cost of drugs for those who are insured. But those without coverage and those with insurance that doesn’t cover their particular medications burn themselves or go without.
In Canada, prescription drugs are much cheaper because the Canadian government regulates and controls the prices. So the idea is to help Americans take advantage of Canada’s price controls.
As you might expect, the pharmaceutical lobby opposes plans to import prescription drugs from Canada. He ran advertisements questioning the safety of using drugs imported from other countries – an advertisement even stating: “Too many have already died from counterfeit drugs; are you willing to take that risk? “
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But Governor Ron DeSantis says we can trust Canada – and Congress agrees. He passed a law allowing commercial imports of drugs from Canada in 2003. Sixteen years later, Florida was one of the first states to begin the process.
The state has spent the past two years putting the system in place, which the governor says will keep it safe.
“This program only applies if we show that we are providing drugs that are safe and cheaper than what we already have,” said Governor DeSantis.
The final step is FDA clearance, and President Biden has already ordered the FDA to get to work. As soon as the FDA gives the green light, Florida plans to take action.
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Lakeland life science logistics are ready for now. Its warehouses would start filling up with boxes and bottles of pills – all prescription drugs from Canada.
“We’re ready to start importing in 90 days,” a company spokesperson told FOX 13.
The state has not defined or announced certain details, such as which drugs will come first. State officials have suggested they could start with drugs to treat diabetes, hepatitis, COPD and / or HIV / AIDS.
They will likely start with a small number of drugs for those with Medicaid, then for others with public insurance. Further expansion would be based on the success of the program as well as demand.
There are some wrinkles in the plane that need to be addressed. The pharmaceutical industry is challenging it in court. And supplies can also be a problem, as Canada cannot supply its own citizens while having enough for the United States, or even all of Florida, for that matter. Shipments should be considered “surplus” or “surplus” in the Canadian market.
But after years of planning, Florida could overcome these hurdles in 2022, triggering big changes in where we get our drugs and how much we pay for them.