The Phoenix Flyer

Gov. DeSantis and President Trump confer on plan to import cheaper Canadian pharmaceuticals

By: - November 21, 2019 5:00 pm

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Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke to President Trump by telephone Thursday about Florida’s hopes to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, the governor’s press office said.

Aides announced the chat via an update of the governor’s daily schedule issued about 20 minutes after the phone call commenced at 3:30 p.m.

Communications Director Helen Aguirre Ferré had no immediate update about how the call – or the pharmaceuticals plan – were going.

At DeSantis’ urging, the Legislature approved the importation plan during its spring regular session, and the Florida Phoenix wrote earlier this month about the potential difficulty of implementing the plan.

The legislation authorizes two separate programs – one in which the Agency for Health Care Administration would buy Canadian drugs for recipients of state health programs; and another, run through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, would supervise imports to benefit the general public.

Both programs must wait for authorization from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has been writing regulations on Trump’s orders. Congress authorized such purchases in 2003 but Democratic and Republican administrations let the idea languish until Tump ordered his own HHS secretary, Alex Azar, to write regulations. Azar previously dismissed had the idea as a “gimmick.”

The Canadian government is by no means sold on the plan.

The Republican governor announced his support for the import plan during an appearance in The Villages, the huge senior-citizen community, and returned there to sign the legislation into law.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.