Gov. Ron DeSantis has filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) for failing to grant its approval to allow the state of Florida to import drugs from Canada. According to DeSantis Importing the drugs could save consumers between 75 and 80 percent on prescription drugs and create caps on the cost of drugs such as insulin. “After 630 days, we’ve waited long enough,” DeSantis said during an Aug. 31 press conference in Lakeland.
In 2019, DeSantis signed into law CH/HB 19 that requires the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) to establish the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program. The measure also authorizes a Canadian supplier to export drugs into the state under that program and establishes an international export pharmacy permit for participating in the International Prescription Drug Importation Program.
In July, the ACHA announced that it had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request inquiring about the status of the FDA’s review of Florida’s Canadian Drug Importation Program.
According to DeSantis the FOIA request was necessary because the FDA has not ruled on Florida’s drug importation program. “It’s very hard to meet with people at the FDA,” DeSantis said. “They’re arrogant, they’re dismissive.”
In March, the FDA posted on its website that the agency is seeking a way for states to import certain prescription drugs.
“ The FDA is working to implement a statutory pathway for the importation of certain prescription drugs from Canada in order to reduce the cost of these drugs to the American consumer without imposing additional risk to public health and safety,” the agency’s website posting said.
According to Florida Attorney General Moody, the agency’s failure to review the state’s drug importation proposal is costing Floridians about $150 million a year. “So we filed litigation to force the FDA to accept our medication importation proposal,” she said.
That lawsuit is pending in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division.