Oct 27, 2020 - Health

Florida's plan to import drugs from Canada hits setback

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waves to supporters during a rally for President Donald Trump
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves to supporters during a rally for President Trump last week. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Florida's $30 million contract to set up and operate a drug importation program didn't attract any private firms by its September deadline, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: The lack of vendor interest delays Florida's attempt to become the first state to import some drugs from Canada under recently finalized federal rules.

The big picture: The Trump administration has allowed states to apply for federal permission to import prescription drugs from Canada, where prices are lower because the country limits how much drugmakers can charge.

  • Florida's goal is to help lower drug prices for people covered by state programs such as Medicaid and the Corrections Department, and it projects savings of up to $150 million a year.
  • Vermont, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire and New Mexico are also planning to set up importation programs. The federal rules take effect Nov. 30, which is when states can formally apply to HHS to set up their program.

What they're saying: “The agency remains confident it will find a qualified vendor soon,” a spokesperson for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration tells Axios. The state had planned to award a contract in December.

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