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FDA Authorizes Florida to Mass Import Canadian Pharmaceuticals


WASHINGTON — In a letter sent to state officials on Friday, the FDA authorized Florida to purchase medicines directly from less costly wholesalers in Canada, despite strong opposition from Big Pharma.

Florida officials estimate that the approval could save up to $150 million in its first year through imports of medicines that treat H.I.V., AIDS, diabetes, hepatitis C, and other conditions. Other states have also applied to launch similar programs.

The approval represents a major policy shift for the United States. However, while supporters hope it will lead to lower costs for prescription drugs, Canadian officials warn that the country's supply chain is not deep enough to produce enough drugs for Canadians and a significant portion of the American market.

"Canada’s drug supply is too small to meet the demands of both American and Canadian consumers," Maryse Durette, a spokeswoman for Health Canada, told the New York Times on Friday. "Bulk importation will not provide an effective solution to the problem of high drug prices in the U.S."

The Canadian government has already taken steps to block the export of prescription drugs for which supply is limited, and pharmaceutical companies, in some cases, require agreements with Canadian wholesalers not to export their products.

Other potential roadblocks remain. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the industry's premier lobbying organization, has filed suit over previous efforts to import drugs from Canada and is expected to take legal action over the approval.


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  • rayfusco68

    Congress could significantly lower the pharmaceutical costs for all Medicare recipients today with one simple act. The federal government has already negotiated significantly reduced pharmaceutical rates that are used by the VA, qualifying hospitals and Community Health Centers. Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act requires pharmaceutical manufacturers participating in Medicaid to sell outpatient drugs at discounted prices to healthcare organizations that care for many uninsured and low-income patients. Congress can mandate Medicare patient eligibility for a 340 B medication discount now instead of playing their current woe is me game. The pharmaceutical industry gouges the American public on the pretense that new drugs wouldn’t be developed if they can’t maintain their price gouging. So why do they sell their drugs to other countries at a fraction of the cost they charge the American public? Are we that big a sucker to fall for this line of baloney? Please go to Pharmacychecker.com and compare Canadian drug pricing to US pricing to see the magnitude of the problem. Do you think the Canadian companies are selling the same drugs at a loss? The other boogeyman that the drug industry tries to scare you with is that there wouldn’t be any research for new drugs if they can’t have the huge profits. Most of the drug research is carried out in major universities. If we expanded funding for this kind of research in the universities and paid companies to manufacture the proven products we would all be far better off.

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