Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference on Wednesday where he announced that this state has filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the delay of a drug importation program that would lower the costs of prescriptions.
At the announcement in Lakeland, Polk County, the Republican governor spoke on the soaring prices of prescription drugs, and the fight to make them more affordable for Florida residents.
While it is currently illegal to import unapproved prescription drugs into the United States, the FDA has the power to approve programs that would allow drugs to be imported from Canada. In 2018, Vermont became the first state in the country to enact a prescription-drug importation law, but the FDA has yet to approve of their program.
DeSantis originally signed the Prescription Drug Importation Programs bill into law in June 2019, which established two programs – the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program (CPDI Program) and the International Prescription Drug Importation Program (IPDI Program). The implementation of these programs would have lowered drug costs in the state, but 630 days after the application was filed for the approval from the FDA, the governor claims that the Biden administration is dragging its feet to approve of it.
"630 days, we still sit here waiting for an answer… so it's our view that we've waited long enough," the governor said.
"They have unlawfully and unreasonably delayed approval of Florida's program, and we think this violates federal law," he continued.
According to DeSantis, the lawsuit requests that the judge approve of Florida's proposed importation program, and order the end of the FDA's delay.
"The clock's been ticking. We have a right to know what the FDA has been doing the last two years," DeSantis said.
"Governor DeSantis and I are fighting to lower prescription drug costs, but Washington bureaucrats are blocking our efforts," said Attorney General Ashley Moody in a statement. "Today, we filed litigation to force the FDA to accept our medication importation proposal. This action will save Florida $150 million a year."
"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."
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