Trump’s Plan to Import Canadian Drugs Faces Continuing Opposition

Drug companies, pharmacists, and Canadians continue to push back against the Trump administration’s plan to allow states to import cheaper drugs from Canada.

While several states – Florida, Colorado, and Maine among them – are interested in importing drugs from Canada, biotechnology companies, drug makers and distributors, U.S. pharmacists, U.S. law-enforcement officers, and the Canadian government strongly oppose the plan. More than 900 individuals participated in a letter-writing campaign organized by Partnership for Safe Medicines, an anti-importation nonprofit organization.

The trade group PhRMA submitted an 81-page criticism of the draft proposal, which the White House released in December 2019. PhRMA’s response suggests it will take legal action to block implementation if the administration moves forward with the plan.

The Canadian government would also attempt to block the plan. “Canada will employ all necessary measures to safeguard its drug supply and preserve access for Canadians to needed drugs,” a letter from Canadian officials read. “There are other domestic measures that would be more effective for the U.S. to achieve its objective. [We] would be pleased to meet with U.S. counterparts to share information on Canada’s approach to ensuring that Canadians have access to the safe and affordable drugs they need.”

In addition to the widespread opposition to the proposal, the Trump administration hasn’t been able to quantify the savings that state importation plans would bring. “We are unable to estimate the volume or value of drugs that may be imported under the [state-importation plans] or the savings to U.S. consumers who may participate in such programs,” the administration wrote.

Source: STAT, March 10, 2020.