On March 12, 2019, the Florida House of Representatives’ Health Quality Subcommittee voted 15 to 2 to approve House Bill 19 (HB 19) that would implement one of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recently announced health care proposals. In February 2019, the new Florida governor, who was criticized for not having a health care platform while he campaigned, announced the proposal that Florida start importing drugs from Canada.
HB 19 -Prescription Drug Importation Programs.
HB 19 was created for the purpose of safely importing cost-effective prescription drugs from Canada and other foreign nations under specified conditions. The proposed program would go into effect on July 1, 2019.
HB 19 provides eligibility criteria for prescription drugs and program participants; provides distribution requirements; provides annual reporting requirements; provides application and permitting requirements for certain participating entities; and provides that implementation of International Prescription Drug Importation Program is contingent on federal arrangement or obtaining federal guidance. Click here for more information on HB 19.
Two Programs, One Goal – Lowering Prescription Drug Prices.
The program will offer access to FDA-approved prescription drugs imported from Canada, allowing the drugs to be sold to Floridians at a much lower cost than they could otherwise purchase them here. “One of the biggest drivers of this country’s out of control healthcare spending is the cost of prescription drugs,” said Governor DeSantis.
According to the bill, the U.S. spends 30 to 190% more than other developed countries on prescription drugs, and up to 174% more for the exact same for prescription drugs. The proposed bill aims to lower these unnecessary high costs by establishing two different drug importation programs.
The first program would allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada for use by the Florida Medicaid Program and prison health care system. It would be known as the Canadian Drug Importation Program. It would be run by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).
The second program would be known as the International Drug Importation Program. It would be run by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and would be available to individual residents.
Despite gaining house support, both programs would still need approval from the federal government before they could be implemented in Florida.
To learn more about Gov. DeSantis’ proposal, click here to read his press release.
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Sexton, Christine. “DeSantis prescription drug savings plan gets early House support.” Orlando Sentinel. (March 12, 2019). Web.
News Service of Florida. “DeSantis Drug Importation Plan Wins House Support.” Sunshine State News. (March 13, 2019). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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