Big Pharma Pushes Petition to Block Florida Plan to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Big Pharma Pushes Petition to Block Florida Plan to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson
September 22, 2023

Big Pharma is pushing back on a Florida proposal that aims to make prescription drugs less expensive by allowing them to be imported safely from Canada.

A petition has been filed on the site by Washington D.C. lawfirm Covington & Burling on behalf of PhRMA, the union representing the nation's largest biopharmaceutical research companies, and the Council for Affordable Health Coverage requesting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration refrain from authorizing Florida's proposal.

DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern says the petition is a sign that Florida is doing the right thing.

"This petition just makes the case that we are doing the right thing," said Redfern in a written statement. "Despite Big Pharma’s objections and the Biden Administration’s reluctance, Governor DeSantis will continue to lead the fight to lower prescription drug prices for Floridians."

"The Agency for Health Care Administration submitted the first of its kind plan to safely import cheaper drugs from Canada to the FDA nearly 21 months ago, and the last hurdle they are facing is approval from the federal government," according to a statement from Governor DeSantis's office from August of 2022.

“Florida has been ready to deliver cheaper prescription drugs to those that need them for nearly two years,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The lack of transparency by the Biden administration during the approval process, and failure to provide records on the importation proposal, is costing Floridians who are facing rising prices across the board due to inflation. Florida is confident in our importation model, and we continue to look for more ways to lower drug costs for Floridians while the FDA delays approval of this importation proposal.”

Representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration argue that importing drugs from Canada would be unsafe and have opposed the Florida plan since it was proposed in 2021.

"We agree with the petitioners that approval of the Florida SIP Proposal would endanger the health of Americans and make the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain less safe and secure," wrote Anita T. Ducca, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs for the Food and Drug Administration.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration disagrees with this view and says these drugs can be safely imported from Canada and will lower costs for those who need them.

“Thanks to the decisive leadership of Governor DeSantis and his commitment to empowering patients, we will continue to fight for Floridians and the ability to import high-quality prescription drugs from Canada at a significantly lower price,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller. “With each passing day, the complacency of the federal government continues to appear to be a ruse to protect the pharmaceutical industry’s ‘power’ over patients.”

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo

Florida Surgeon General Joe Ladapo accused the Federal Government of dragging their feet.

“Governor DeSantis continues to push for action on every front from the Biden Administration,” said Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “The reality is that people cannot wait upwards of two years to improve access to essential prescriptions. Instead, the federal government is dragging their feet when Americans need affordable prescriptions, now more than ever.”

DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration last summer over what they called an "unreasonable delay of more than 630 days" in approving Florida’s proposal for its Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program.

"AHCA continues to face bureaucratic roadblocks and filed this lawsuit to compel the FDA to act on Florida’s proposal," according to a statement from DeSantis's office. "In July, Governor DeSantis announced that AHCA filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to gain insight into the status of their proposal to lower drug costs for Floridians. To date, the FDA has failed to respond to this FOIA request, resulting in AHCA filing suit earlier this week. The FDA must provide transparency on their review process, and Florida will hold them accountable to ensure they are not putting politics over patients."

In the meantime, DeSantis has granted authority to the AHCA to negotiate prices for drugs ineligible for importation, such as insulin and epinephrine.

"This will reinforce the demand for Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program and provide another avenue to impact the price Floridians pay for prescription drugs," according to the Governor's office.

DeSantis is the only governor in the country to impanel a Grand Jury to investigate misleading claims made by pharmaceutical companies in regard to COVID-19 vaccines.




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Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson is a videographer and investigative reporter based in Fort Lauderdale. Chris covers breaking news, and local and state politics, and focuses on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. His work has been cited on Fox News and Epoch Times.

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