Feds will consider allowing Canadian drug imports to Florida

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FILE – This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York. A new study shoots down the notion that medical marijuana laws can prevent opioid overdose deaths. Chelsea Shover of Stanford University School of Medicine and colleagues reported the findings Monday, June 10, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

For the first time in history, the US government is looking allow states to import lower cost prescription drugs. 

The federal law allowing drug imports has been around since 2003, but Florida could be one of the first to see the benefits.

Importing cheaper prescription drugs to Florida was one of the most hotly contested fights of the 2019 legislative session.

Drug companies and their associations spent more than $6 million dollars on television trying to defeat the state legislation allowing the imports this past Spring.

The Governor pushed back against claims that importing drugs from Canadian would have a higher chance of being counterfeit.

“The safety is going to be there, and if not there, then we wouldn’t want to do it,” said DeSantis.

Cheaper imports require federal approval, which has never been given before, but Florida’s Governor had the ear of the President.

“I talked to the President personally about this. He believes you can save a lot of money with Canada drugs,” said DeSantis.

The Federal Government said Wednesday it would begin the process, with the President tweeting the plan would make the Governor happy. 

“It is very encouraging news,” said retiree Charlie Benz, who advocated for the legislation. “And my friends. I’m seeing the high cost of drugs impact their qualities of life. They used to visit their grand kids three or four times a year. Now they can only visit them once or twice.”

Even though Florida pharmacies would be able to apply to import foreign drugs to sell to customers, the association that represents the industry said it still has concerns.

“We are not convinced that all of the safety, the safety factors are in place,” said Michael Jackson with the Florida Pharmacy Association.

While cheaper prices may be on their way it could take months to develop rules, then fight legal challenges. 

Still this is the first time since 2003 the Federal Government has said it would put an importation plan in motion.

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