April 16, 2024

Decision expected soon about Florida's plan to import prescription drugs

Federal officials are expected to decide by Jan. 5 whether to approve a Florida plan to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, state Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida told a House panel Thursday.

Weida said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will approve the plan, which the state has been pursuing since 2019.

“They have set up a number of hoops,” Weida told the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. “We have jumped through them all.”

Weida said the state hoped to receive a decision from the FDA by early next week, but federal officials said they needed additional time.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and then-Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, made the drug-importation issue a priority in 2019, with lawmakers approving a plan to make imported drugs available in government programs such as Medicaid, the prison system and facilities run by the Department of Children and Families.

At least initially, the state wants to import drugs to treat conditions such as HIV and AIDS and mental illness.

The state submitted a proposal in November 2020 to the FDA. But as the federal review continued, the state filed a lawsuit last year alleging violations of the federal Administrative Procedure Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

The Administrative Procedure Act allegations center on delays in the decision-making, while the Freedom of Information Act allegations involve records that the state sought from the FDA. The state filed another Freedom of Information Act lawsuit this year. Both cases remain pending.

Tags: News Service of Florida

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