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Gov. DeSantis Pushes FDA To Allow Importation of Canadian Drugs

Pills outside of pill bottle
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media

DeSantis said importing prescription drugs through a Canadian wholesaler could save Floridians between $80 million and $150 million a year.

Florida is awaiting final approval from the Biden Administration to begin importing prescription drugs from Canada. Gov. Ron DeSantis pressed for approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration during an appearance Friday at an empty Lakeland warehouse that he said could soon be stocked with the drugs.

The governor has been pushing for imported drugs since 2019, saying it was authorized by a Congressional measure passed in 2003.

"So we want the Biden administration to approve this," DeSantis said. "We think if they act immediately, we'll be able to provide safe and effective drugs to drive down prescription costs here in Florida, and the taxpayer will be able to realize a lot of savings."

DeSantis said importing prescription drugs through a Canadian wholesaler could save Floridians between $80 and $150 million a year.

"It's been under review enough," the governor said. "We have followed every regulation. We've met every requirement that we were asked to meet, and we want now to be able to get this final approval so that we can finally move forward."

He appeared at LifeScience Logistics in Lakeland. Florida regulators worked with the company to construct an FDA-compliant warehouse to process pharmaceuticals from Canada. The facility has already passed inspection by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

"We’re ready, willing and able and I think that this could be really, really significant,” DeSantis said. “It was not something obviously that the Big Pharma companies wanted to see, just simply because they’ve relied on American taxpayers and American consumers to fuel most of the profits. Whereas they’ve been giving all these other countries, much cheaper drugs. And so, so we’re looking for some equity here between the United States.”

Governor DeSantis speaks at a podium
The Florida Channel
The governor speaks at the Lakeland warehouse Friday

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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