drug prices

Election Gift For Florida? Trump Poised To Approve Drug Imports From Canada

3 hours ago
Lydia Zuraw/Kaiser Health News illustration / Getty Images

Over the objections of drugmakers, the Trump administration is expected within weeks to finalize its plan that would allow states to import some prescription medicines from Canada.

Six states — Colorado, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Vermont — have passed laws allowing them to seek federal approval to buy drugs from Canada to give their residents access to lower-cost medicines.

But industry observers say the drug importation proposal under review by the administration is squarely aimed at Florida — the most populous swing state in the November election. Trump’s support of the idea initially came at the urging of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Republican ally.

President Trump signed an executive order Sunday that he says lowers prescription drug prices "by putting America first," but experts said the move is unlikely to have any immediate impact.

Two weeks after President Trump signed an executive order "Lowering Drug Prices By Putting America First," the White House still hasn't released the text of the order. The unorthodox move is apparently a leverage play, an attempt to squeeze drug companies into offering concessions, but so far there's little indication Trump is getting the deal he was after.

Trump had American flags and women in white lab coats behind him, his big presidential sharpie marker in hand when he signed the order July 24.

The Trump administration has announced four executive orders to lower drug prices, but health policy experts say they will likely offer patients only minimal relief and may take months to implement, if they're implemented at all.

The orders signed Friday afternoon included allowing certain drugs to be imported from Canada and making changes to the way discounts negotiated by middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers are passed on to Medicare patients.

A Tampa lawmaker is hoping to lower drug prices and improve care for Floridians by regulating companies that serve as middlemen in the health care industry.

Prescription drugs on a shelf.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

Florida’s initial effort to gauge interest in the operation of a Canadian drug importation program has drawn more letters of concern from critics than responses from those seeking to participate in the program.

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued a request for information from potential vendors in late May, after state lawmakers approved the drug-importation plan. During a month-long response period, two vendors --- Ernst & Young and Maximus --- responded to the agency’s request.

A federal judge on Monday stopped a Trump administration initiative that would have required drugmakers to reveal the sticker price of their drugs in television ads.

Under the rule, if a medicine's list price was more than $35 a month, it would have to be stated during the commercial. The challenge, opponents say, is that a drug's list price and estimates of what people can expect to pay vary widely depending on coverage.

Florida, Other States Say Generic Drug Firms Conspired

May 14, 2019
Pharmacy Technician amongst two shelves of prescription pills.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Alleging a conspiracy that has increased drug prices, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Monday that Florida has joined states across the country in a massive anti-trust lawsuit against generic drug manufacturers. 

Welcome to 2030!

We asked some social entrepreneurs – people who've created projects to make the world a better place – to predict what they hope to accomplish in the not-too-distant future.

They are tackling a range of daunting issues: child sexual abuse on the internet, youth unemployment, mental health crises, counterfeit drugs, lack of access to medicine. Some of them have founded nonprofit groups, others are hoping to make a profit as they do good. To get up and running, they've relied on a mix of government money, donations, grants, fees from companies that buy in.

Consumers Rejected Drug Plan That Mirrors Trump Administration Proposal

Apr 9, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Unraveling how much of a prescription drug price gets swallowed by “middlemen” is at the forefront of Tuesday’s drug price hearing in the Senate. One thing bound to come up: rebates. 

DeSantis Tries To Build Support For Drug Imports

Apr 9, 2019

In a move that could suggest one of his top legislative priorities is encountering stiff resistance, Gov. Ron DeSantis took time Monday to defend his push to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. 

Floridians spend a lot on prescription drugs -- more than $30 billion last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Now at least some Florida lawmakers say they have a way to save consumers money on drugs: get them for less from Canada.

In his first weeks in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed the idea of the state importing drugs from Canada. State lawmakers quickly took up the idea. They say that could save Floridians up to 80 percent on what they currently pay for drugs.

United States Sen. Rick Scott was in Fort Myers on Friday to talk about passing federal legislation to tackle the rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs.


A new drug to treat postpartum depression is likely to reach the U.S. market in June, with a $34,000 price tag.

About a quarter of Americans surveyed say they've had trouble paying for their prescription drugs, and a majority welcome government action to help cut the cost of medications.

A survey released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many people have skipped or rationed their prescription medications or have substituted cheaper over-the-counter drugs.

DeSantis Looks To Canada To Lower Drug Costs

Feb 21, 2019
Prescription drugs on a shelf
Daylina Miller/WUSF

Pointing to the high costs of health care, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced plans to create a program that would allow Floridians to have access to FDA-approved drugs from Canada. 

Trump Zeroes In On Surprise Medical Bills In White House Chat With Patients, Experts

Jan 24, 2019
Julia Robinson / Kaiser Health News

President Donald Trump on Wednesday instructed administration officials to investigate how to prevent surprise medical bills, broadening his focus on drug prices to include other issues of price transparency in health care.

Flanked by patients and other guests invited to the White House to share their stories of unexpected and outrageous bills, Trump tasked his health secretary, Alex Azar, and labor secretary, Alex Acosta, with working on a solution, several attendees said.

House Dems Announce Sweeping Investigation Of Drug Pricing

Jan 15, 2019

House Democrats announced a sweeping investigation Monday of the pharmaceutical industry's pricing practices, jockeying for the upper hand with the Trump administration on an issue that concerns Americans across the political spectrum.

Researchers expect that three dozen new drugs will come on the market over the next few years with astronomical prices — some likely topping a million dollars per patient.

The drugmaker Novartis has told investors it might be able to charge $4 million to $5 million for one of its potential products, a treatment for a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy.

House Dems In New Seats Of Power Will Steer Health Policy, Attack Drug Prices

Nov 8, 2018

For the first time since passing the Affordable Care Act, Democrats will soon control the House of Representatives and its powerful health committees. But Republicans’ tightened grip on the Senate means those hoping for another round of dramatic, progressive reforms may be disappointed.

2 Moves By Trump This Past Week Could Reshape U.S. Health Insurance In Big Ways

Oct 27, 2018

In a span of less than 24 hours this past week, the Trump administration took two seemingly contradictory actions that could have profound effects on the insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act.

Health analysts say that at least one of the efforts, coupled with previous changes initiated by the administration, could help transform the insurance market to be much more like it was before the 2010 federal health law took effect — when regulation, coverage and consumer protections varied widely across the United States.

A new not-for-profit drug company, called Civica Rx, is looking to help combat drug shortages and rising prices with the help of health systems and hospitals across the nation, including several in Jacksonville.

Looking For Lower Medicare Drug Costs? Ask Your Pharmacist For The Cash Price

May 30, 2018
Kaiser Health News

As part of President Donald Trump’s blueprint to bring down prescription costs, Medicare officials have warned insurers that “gag orders” keeping pharmacists from alerting seniors that they could save money by paying cash — rather than using their insurance — are “unacceptable and contrary” to the government’s effort to promote price transparency.

But the agency stopped short of requiring insurers to lift such restrictions on pharmacists.

President Trump presented a broad-brush outline of how his administration hopes to stem the decades-long increase in prescription drug prices and spending, in a speech Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House.

The administration also released a 39-page document describing a variety of proposals it is either considering or studying in an effort to lower costs to individuals, corporations, the government and the economy as a whole.

States are continuing to do battle with budget-busting prices of prescription drugs. But a recent federal court decision could limit the tools available to them — underscoring the challenge states face as, in the absence of federal action, they attempt on their own to take on the powerful drug industry.

Pill bottles in a pharmacy
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

An online pharmacy that bills itself as Canada's largest is expected to be fined $34 million Friday for importing counterfeit cancer drugs and other unapproved pharmaceuticals into the United States, a sentence that one advocacy group called too light for such a heinous crime.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Facing bipartisan hostility over high drug prices in an election year, the pharmaceutical industry's biggest trade group boosted revenue by nearly a fourth in 2016 and spread the millions collected among hundreds of lobbyists, politicians and patient groups, new filings show.

Insurers, hospitals and health advocates are waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to deal the drug lobby a rare defeat, by signing legislation that would force pharmaceutical companies to justify big price hikes on drugs in California.

Drug Prices, Not The Health Law, Top Voters’ Health Priorities For 2017

Oct 27, 2016

Until this week, when big increases in insurance premiums were unveiled for next year, the federal health law has not been a major issue in the presidential election. In fact, fixing what ails the Affordable Care Act isn’t even among voters’ top priorities for health issues for next year, according to a new poll.

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