Industry Outlook 2005
PHARMACEUTICALS: North of the Border
Six months after Florida seniors began sorting through the pros and cons of the Medicare drug cards, Floridians of all ages are demanding more affordable prescription drugs.
Much of the discussion centers on Canada. "Importing drugs from Canada, we think, is part of the solution," says Jeff Johnson, advocacy manager for AARP Florida.
Unlike a handful of states that have quietly helped residents get drugs from Canadian suppliers, the Florida Department of Health in 2004 shut down a dozen unlicensed pharmacies with names like Canada Direct and Buy Canadian Discount Drugs. This year, however, there's likely to be pressure on lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington to pave the way for Canadian imports.
2005 Forecast: Although the importation of drugs from Canada is primarily a federal issue, it will likely also be on the front burner in Tallahassee in 2005, says Miami Democratic Rep. Yolly Roberson, who will sponsor legislation that allows Florida licensed pharmacists to sell scripts from Canada. Roberson concedes that in 2004 she could not round up enough support for her bill. "This year is a different story," she says, adding, "I'm hopeful that something will be done."