AP

Florida sues FDA over ‘delay’ of low-cost drug importations

Aug 31, 2022, 10:45 AM | Updated: 11:56 am

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida sued federal health officials on Wednesday, accusing them of stalling the state’s plan to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Food and Drug Administration at a news conference.

“Florida has been ready to deliver cheaper prescription drugs to those that need them for nearly two years,” DeSantis said. “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.”

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry for years has faced complaints over high prices and has been able to successfully lobby against proposals to import drugs at lower costs. Critics have argued importing drugs could lead to risks of counterfeit or ineffective medications that would be difficult for American governments to regulate.

Democratic President Joe Biden has backed such importation programs as a way to lower prices, signing an executive order in 2021 that directed the FDA to work with states on developing proposals to ship drugs to the U.S. under federal law.

A spokesman from the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Under President Joe Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act signed into law earlier this month, the federal government is set to gain the power to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors in Medicare. The savings will only apply to a handful of drugs starting in 2026, but it represents a breakthrough in efforts to bring down drug prices. That and other cost-saving measures in the law could reduce demand for less expensive imports from Canada.

Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature approved the state’s importation program in 2019, but it requires approval from federal health officials before it can take effect. The state estimates taxpayers could save up to $150 million annually under the program, with supporters saying the drugs would still need to meet FDA standards and that 80% of drug ingredients used in the U.S. are foreign-made now.

In its lawsuit, Florida wrote that the FDA has asked for several minor clarifications to the state’s proposal and alleged the agency is “dragging its feet and protecting big pharmaceutical companies.”

“Given the near-universal support for programs like Florida’s, it seems the FDA’s reluctance to approve Florida’s SIP Proposal is a nod to the large pharmaceutical companies that oppose these importation programs because they yield increased competition and lower prescription drug prices,” the lawsuit reads.

The federal lawsuit, filed in Tampa, asks the court to rule that the FDA and HHS have delayed Florida’s proposal and to force the agencies to make a determination on the plan.

The drug industry lobby, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which had opposed Florida’s importation plan as unsafe, did not immediately return an emailed request and voicemail seeking comment Wednesday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

1 day ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

8 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

9 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

11 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

11 days ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Florida sues FDA over ‘delay’ of low-cost drug importations