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DeSantis urges OK to get prescription drugs from Canada

FILE — This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York.
FILE — This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 6:37 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state is ready to begin importing drugs from Canada and pushed President Joe Biden’s administration to give Florida the green light to move ahead with the program.

“It’s been under review enough. We have followed every regulation. We have met every requirement we were asked to meet and we want now to be able to get this final approval so we can finally move forward,” DeSantis told reporters Friday at a news conference at the LifeScience Logistics Distribution Center in Lakeland.

The governor said Florida could save between $80 and $150 million on prescription drugs if the plan is approved.

The DeSantis administration in November submitted to the federal government the state’s plan to establish a drug-importation program, which the Florida Legislature in 2019 authorized the governor to pursue. But the proposal was immediately challenged by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Partnership for Safe Medicines and the Council for Affordable Health Coverage. The federal rules required for drug importation also were challenged.

DeSantis said Florida’s plan has been under review for six months. “We were told that it if wasn’t denied last week, that we should assume it’s going to be approved. But we want to get that final approval,” DeSantis said.

But drug manufacturers maintain that the plan isn’t safe. “Drug importation is a dangerous scheme with no guarantee to actually making medicines more affordable,” PhRMA spokeswoman Sarah Sutton said in an email Friday.

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