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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.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Jan 16, 2021 - Health

Majority gives Dems new health care goals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A narrow Democratic majority increases the odds that significant health care legislation could become law.

What they're saying ... The Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt listed health policies that Democrats may enact with a Senate majority:

  • Nullifying the pending GOP lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
  • Making ACA premiums more affordable.
  • Offering incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
  • Allowing the government to negotiate drug prices.
  • Eliminating cost-sharing for coronavirus treatment.

Who to watch: Most Democratic policymaking on health care will come from the administration — specifically President-elect Biden's pick to head up the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra.

  • Biden has also announced a task force, led by Marcella Nunez-Smith, on racial disparities in health care — a longstanding problem that got more urgent during the pandemic. 
4 hours ago - World

In photos: Protests in U.S., across the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

A protest march in support of Palestinians near the Washington monument in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and DW.com report.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.