ARS TECHNICA – Canada issued a warning Monday that it stands ready to defend its prescription drug supply from US importation plans—and also said the plans wouldn’t work for the US, anyway.
“Bulk importation will not provide an effective solution to the problem of high drug prices in the US,” Health Canada said in a statement.
The defensive stance comes just days after the US Food and Drug Administration granted Florida authorization to directly import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada in an effort to help drag down America’s uniquely stratospheric drug pricing.
Florida is the first state to win such an authorization, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis celebrated it, claiming the drug imports will save the state “up to $180 million in the first year alone.”
There are caveats, though.
Before Florida can import any drugs, it must complete several obligations, including submitting to the FDA additional drug-specific information, testing the drugs for authenticity and FDA compliance, and relabeling them in accordance with FDA labeling.
The FDA authorized the importation program in accordance with section 804 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
The move stems from President Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” which directed the FDA to help develop such programs.
“The FDA is committed to working with states and Indian tribes that seek to develop successful section 804 importation proposals,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in the agency’s authorization announcement.
“These proposals must demonstrate the programs would result in significant cost savings to consumers without adding risk of exposure to unsafe or ineffective drugs … ”
BETH MOLE is Ars Technica’s Senior Health Reporter. Beth has a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attended the Science Communication program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She specializes in covering infectious diseases, public health, and microbes.