Florida Sues FDA Over ‘Delay’ of Low-Cost Drug Importations

On Wednesday, Florida filed a lawsuit against federal health regulators, claiming they had prevented the state from importing less expensive prescription medications from Canada.

At a press conference, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis disclosed the lawsuit he has filed against the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Since almost two years ago, Florida has been prepared to provide individuals in need with more affordable prescription medications, according to DeSantis. “Floridians, who are seeing inflation-driven price increases across the board, are paying a price for the Biden administration’s lack of openness throughout the approval process and unwillingness to give information on the importation plan.”

The American pharmaceutical industry has long received criticism for its high pricing and has been effective in lobbying against plans to import medicines at reduced rates. Importing pharmaceuticals, according to critics, might result in dangers of fake or inefficient drugs that would be hard for American governments to control.

As a means of bringing down costs, Democratic President Joe Biden has supported such importation initiatives, issuing an executive order in 2021 directing the FDA to collaborate with states on establishing plans to import medicines into the country in accordance with federal law.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman refused to comment, citing ongoing legal proceedings.

The state’s importation scheme was passed by Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2019, but it still needs the permission of federal health regulators before it can go into operation. With advocates pointing out that the pharmaceuticals would still need to fulfill FDA requirements and that 80% of drug components used in the U.S. are now manufactured abroad, the state estimates that taxpayers may save up to $150 million yearly under the scheme.

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