It sounds so simple: Many drugs in Canada cost less than in the U.S., so why not import those from Canada to the U.S.? Each state would develop a plan for safe importation subject to FDA approval. Or, drug manufacturers could import any FDA approved drug.
However, it is not that simple. Expect drug manufacturers to fiercely protect their sources of income and to legally challenge related legislation or regulations. Additionally, importing could have a dramatic impact on availability of drugs in Canada, so expect them to fiercely protect their markets.
Simple idea; complex to implement
Trump Administration ‘Open For Business’ On Drug Imports From Canada
A year after calling proposals allowing Americans to import cheaper drugs from Canada a “gimmick,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the federal government is “open for business” on such a strategy.
Azar announced a preliminary plan Wednesday to allow Americans to import certain lower-cost drugs from Canada. Insulin, biological drugs, controlled substances and intravenous drugs would not be included.
The plan relies on states to come up with proposals for safe importation and submit them for federal approval.
Under a second option, manufacturers could import versions of any FDA-approved drugs from foreign countries – including insulin – and sell them at a lower cost than the same U.S. versions. This appears to be a way drugmakers could avoid some of the contracts they have with drug middlemen, known as pharmacy benefit managers.
How Trump’s Plan To Import Canadian Drugs Would Work
To be sold in the U.S., drugs must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective, and the facility where they’re manufactured must pass FDA inspection. Drugs sold in other countries, even if they’re identical to U.S. versions, are considered unapproved medicine.
1. Why are drugs cheaper in Canada?
2. How does the U.S. regulate drug imports?
3. How would Trump’s plan change that?
4. How would it work?
5. Which drugs would this apply to?
6. How would the plan impact U.S. drug prices?
7. How would it impact Canadians?
8. What’s the timeline for the plan?
Trump and Sanders Want to Ease Imports of Drugs From Canada. Canada Says Not So Fast.
President Trump drew the ire of Canadians during his campaign when he lambasted the country’s health-care system – a point of national pride – as “slow” and “catastrophic.”
But it appears there’s at least one aspect of the Canadian system that he admires. On Wednesday, his administration said it was weighing plans to allow for the legal importation of prescription drugs from Canada to help Americans coping with skyrocketing drug prices in the United States.
The response from Canadians? Sorry, but back off.