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DeSantis announces Florida’s submittal to import cheaper prescription drugs

by | Nov 23, 2020


Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Monday that the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) officially submitted its Section 804 Importation Proposal (SIP) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program.

“For far too long, Floridians have been paying exorbitant prices for prescription drugs,” said Governor DeSantis. “Today, we take another step towards lowering those prices by submitting a proposal to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a first of its kind Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program. My administration will continue to work collaboratively in an effort to bring affordable prescription drugs to all Floridians.”

The plan, designed by DeSantis and backed by President Donald Trump, was implemented to lower Florida’s drug costs by importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada

In 2019, DeSantis and the Florida Legislature initiated the program to lower prices of prescription drugs. Completed in collaboration with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and other state agencies, today’s proposal is the next step in reducing costs for prescription drugs in Florida.

Prescription drug prices are cheaper in Canada because their government regulates the prices, while the U.S. allows drug manufacturers and distributors to set their own prices.

“Today’s proposal submission is the result of bold leadership from Governor Ron DeSantis and his continued efforts to make prescription drug prices affordable for Floridians” said AHCA Acting Secretary Shevaun Harris. “I know that this crucial step Florida is taking towards effective change will be a catalyst for other states around the nation to follow. We will continue to work hard to bring down these prices that have burdened too many Floridians.

Approval of the program would position the state as a leader in safely importing prescription drugs and reducing prescription drug prices. The State’s SIP comports with all the requirements of the newly published rule and includes all the necessary safeguards to ensure counterfeit drugs do not enter the supply chain. The State will begin by importing a few drug classes which will include maintenance medications to help individuals and consumers that have chronic health conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.

AHCA will soon contract with a vendor to manage and oversee all aspects of the program and ensure Canadian suppliers and eligible importers comply with all federal and state law requirements. Eligible importers will be limited to wholesalers and pharmacists that are dispensing prescription drugs to consumers served by certain state and government programs. Florida’s Program must also comply fully with Title II of the Federal Drug Supply Chain.

In late July, HHS published the Safe Importation Action plan that outlined measures HHS and the FDA will take to allow for the safe importation of certain prescription drugs, and the FDA published the rule on the importation of prescription drugs which becomes final on Nov. 30.

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