Florida’s New GOP Governor Wants to Import Cheaper Prescription Drugs from Canada
Health Care

Florida’s New GOP Governor Wants to Import Cheaper Prescription Drugs from Canada

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday said he wants to launch a program to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada into his state — and that President Trump backs the idea.

Under the federal Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the state would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to certify to Congress that the imports would reduce costs and would not threaten public health and safety, according to the SunSentinel.

“I spoke personally to President Trump on both Sunday and Monday about this,” DeSantis reportedly said. “He's not only supportive, he's enthusiastic, and he wanted me to tell all of you here today that he supports what we're doing and he will take the necessary executive actions to make sure that we can act under this 2003 law.” 

Why it matters: The idea of importing drugs from Canada has long been advocated by liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), but it may be gaining momentum.

“If Trump were to approve drug importation, it would be a major step that would buck the traditional Republican position and the pharmaceutical industry, which strongly opposes the idea and warns that there are not safeguards to ensure imported drugs are safe,” The Hill’s Peter Sullivan writes. But he notes that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar last year dismissed the idea as a “gimmick” and said Canada does not have enough drugs to sell to the United States, a claim backed up by some Canadian health experts. “The Canadian shelves would run dry,” Steve Morgan, a Canadian health economist, told Politico.