Florida Sues FDA Over Prescription Drugs From Canada

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had enough of waiting for Biden’s Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a plan to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The Republican governor’s state is suing the FDA for keeping its application on hold and costing taxpayers millions.

The state said the agency is unlawfully delaying approval of the program, which is attempting to import drugs to save medication costs for Florida residents.

DeSantis announced Wednesday that the state first sought approval from the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program in Nov. 2020. The 42-page lawsuit alleges the FDA violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Freedom of Information Act during its delay.

The Republican governor said the state has “a right to know what the FDA has been doing the past two years.” The state alleges the agency has not moved on the program’s approval or told Florida what it needs to do to move forward.

He asked if the agency is putting politics over the needs of patients “or Big Pharma over the interests of average Floridians.”

The governor said the suit asks a federal judge to order the FDA to get on with the process and approve Florida’s program.

Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order in 2020 to allow the importation of some drugs from Canada to lower patient costs. The FDA later blocked bulk imports from the country, however, saying that there were potential shortages.

Florida became the first state to request authorization for importing drugs. They include medications for HIV, diabetes, hepatitis C, and mental illness. Some prescription drugs may be purchased at an 80% discount compared with costs in the U.S.

There is a legal challenge from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America that is in the federal court system. Politico reports that the Biden administration last year asked a court to dismiss the challenge.

The administration sided with Florida and New Mexico, the other state that applied for the program.

Florida’s aging population includes a national-high of 21% of residents 65-and-over. Only California (5.4 million) has more elderly citizens than Florida (4.2 million). The state is trying to ease its burden of caring for the elderly, and the FDA should not stand in its way over politics.