Today's date is February 26, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis and HHS Secretary Alex Azar Announce Advancement of Canadian Drug Importation Program

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Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced the advancement of the Trump administration’s plan to allow for safe and affordable prescription drug importation from Canada to multiple states, including Florida. This morning, HHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and draft guidance for the plan, which can be found here.

Governor DeSantis and Secretary Azar were joined by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Brett Giroir, Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Mary Mayhew, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, Florida Department of Elders Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom and Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch.

“The high costs of prescription drugs have plagued Floridians for too long, and today’s announcement is a historic step towards a solution,” said Governor DeSantis. “I want to thank President Trump for his steadfast support of our efforts to bring this issue to the forefront as well as Secretary Azar for realizing the benefits this plan will have not only on Florida, but Americans in other states across the country. With the support of the Florida Legislature, I will continue to work to identify innovative ways to reduce health care costs for Floridians.”

“Today’s announcement outlines two pathways for the safe importation of certain prescription drugs to help provide safe, effective, more affordable drugs to American patients,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These are historic actions by HHS and the FDA, and they represent the bold nature of President Trump’s agenda for lowering drug costs. The President has recognized the opportunity to lower costs for American patients through safe importation, and we at HHS and FDA are delivering on that possibility through a safe, commonsense approach, and we look forward to working with leaders like Governor DeSantis to do it.”

“The FDA continues to assess and act on multiple opportunities to promote competition that can, in turn, help reduce drug prices and improve access to medicines for Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir. “The proposed rule and draft guidance include procedures intended to protect the public’s health and safety. We look forward to receiving public comment on these draft policies, and we will take timely comments into account as we work to finalize the rule and guidance. Our ultimate goal is to provide a robust program that clearly lays out procedures to import drugs that could provide lower prices while also maintaining the high-quality Americans expect.”

“Secretary Azar’s announcement today of the historic proposed rule to allow safe and affordable prescription drug importation is an unprecedented step toward allowing greater access to these much-needed medicines for residents in Florida and throughout the nation,” said AHCA Secretary Mary Mayhew. “I commend President Trump, Secretary Azar and Governor DeSantis for supporting these efforts for the benefit of those who are struggling with the burden of high cost prescription drugs, and under their leadership, I look forward to continue working on making the Canadian Prescription Drug Program a reality for our state.”

Today’s announcement follows Governor DeSantis’ signing of CS/HB 19 earlier this year, which created a program to safely import Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved prescription drugs from abroad. More information on that announcement can be found HERE.

Additionally, Governor DeSantis announced in August that AHCA had submitted its concept paper to HHS, outlining Florida’s plan for the wholesale importation of safe and affordable drugs from Canada. More information on that announcement can be found HERE.

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