Great News: FDA Says Florida Can Import Canadian Meds 

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By Michele D. Baker 

Adapted from an article of the same name in the March 2024 AARP Bulletin 

In January, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a state program to import prescription meds from Canada, where the prices for many drugs are far lower than in the U.S. The approval allows Florida’s health agency to begin implementing a process for some state programs. 

“The FDA approval is evidence that efforts to allow states to safely import prescription drugs from Canada are moving forward,” said Leigh Purvis, AARP prescription drug expert. “This is part of a growing list of efforts to try and reduce prescription drug prices.” 

Related: How to Choose Quality Vitamins and Supplements

People with Medicare drug coverage will no longer have to pay any out-of-pocket costs after they qualify for catastrophic coverage, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022. In 2025, a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on Medicare covered drugs will take effect. 

The pharmaceutical industry strongly opposed these efforts and is expected to make a legal challenge; Canadian officials expressed concerns that importation programs would threaten the supply in Canada. 

Florida plans to import medicines in bulk for state health programs, prisons, and eventually Medicaid members, so the drugs won’t initially be on pharmacy shelves. 

The FDA has set conditions that must be met before Florida can start the program: the state must “demonstrate that the programs would result in significant savings to consumers without adding risk of exposure to unsafe or ineffective drugs,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf.