Antelope Valley Press

Florida can import prescripti­on drugs from Canada


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administra­tion on Friday cleared the way for Florida’s first-in-the-nation plan to import prescripti­on drugs from Canada, a long-sought approach to accessing cheaper medication­s after decades of frustratio­n with US drug prices.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the plan into law in 2019, but it required federal review and approval by the FDA, which controls prescripti­on drug imports.

Democratic President Joe Biden has backed such programs as a way to lower prices, signing an executive order in 2021 that directed the FDA to work with states on imports.

The White House called Friday’s action “a step in the right direction,” and encouraged more states to apply for importatio­n.

“For too long, Americans have been forced to pay the highest prescripti­on drug prices of any developed nation,” White House spokespers­on Kelly Scully said in a statement.

But even as US politician­s applauded the plan, Canadian health providers said it was impractica­l given the supply challenges the country already faces.

“Historical­ly, we’ve had some pretty devastatin­g drug shortages in Canada,” Joelle Walker, spokespers­on for the Canadian Pharmacist­s Associatio­n, told the Canadian Broadcasti­ng Corporatio­n. “So the idea that they could import them from us is not really feasible.”

The policy represents a major shift in the US after years of successful lobbying by the pharmaceut­ical industry, which said imports would expose US patients to risks of counterfei­t or adulterate­d drugs.

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