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Plan to allow drug imports will take time

Plan to allow drug imports will take time

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Health
and Human Services Secretary
Alex Azar says he and
President Donald Trump are
working on a plan to allow
Americans to import lower-
priced prescription drugs
from Canada.
Azar made the comments
Tuesday (July 30) in an interview
with CNBC.
As a candidate, Trump
called for allowing Americans
to import prescription drugs
from abroad, and recently he’s
backed a Florida law allowing
state residents to gain access
to medications from Canada.
Azar told CNBC he had
just gotten off the phone with
the president and they were
discussing a plan that would
allow Americans to safely and
effectively import prescriptions
from Canada.
Azar didn’t elaborate, but
HHS says both are very open
to the importation of prescription
drugs as long as it can be
done safely and can deliver results
for patients.
The administration’s move
comes as the industry is facing
a litany of consumer complaints
over drug prices, as
well as legislation from both
parties in Congress to rein
in costs. President Donald
Trump is supporting a Senate
bill to cap medication costs for
Medicare recipients.
The drug industry lobby
says the Trump administration’s
plan to let Americans
import cheaper prescription
drugs from Canada is “far too
dangerous.”
Pharmaceutical Research
and Manufacturers of America
says there’s “no way
to guarantee the safety of
drugs” coming from outside
the United States. It says
in an emailed statement
drugs coming through Canada
could have originated
anywhere and may not have
been reviewed by the Food
and Drug Administration.
It also says law enforcement
has repeatedly warned that
importation schemes could
worsen the U.S. opioid crisis.
The plan must first go
through time-consuming
regulatory approval and later
could face court challenges
from drug makers. And
there’s no telling how Canada
will react to becoming the
drugstore for its much bigger
neighbor, with potential consequences
for policymakers
and consumers there.

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