The Trump administration has identified two ways to import certain foreign-made medicines into the United States.
The Department of Health and Human Services has identified two routes to importing medicines into the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and HHS will rely on their regulatory authority to apply existing federal laws to establish pilot projects for countries or wholesalers that describe how certain Canadian medicines are copies of FDA-approved medicines manufactured in accordance with FDA rules.
On the other hand, the FDA will work on safety guidelines for pharmaceutical manufacturers who want to import any drug sold in foreign countries into the US market. The HHS statement says that manufacturers will benefit from a new national drug law that will allow them to set the price lower for medicines regardless of what their current distribution agreements require.
This route can be particularly useful for patients with expensive prescription drugs, says HHS. This may include medicines such as insulin to treat diabetes as well as medicines that treat chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
More and more American states are considering their own plans to import prescription drugs from Canada, hoping to negotiate better offers than the current system allows.
Because of the high cost of paying for prescription medicines through Medicaid and the high costs of government employee’s plans, Florida, Vermont, Maine, and Colorado have adopted legislation on importing medicines. More than half U.S. states have proposed such measures this year, Trish Riley, Executive Director of the National Academy of Government Health Policy, told Selenie Simons-Dauphin of NPR last month.
But before they can start their own import transaction, they need HHS approval. With today’s announcement, the federal government is taking a step in this direction.
According to Rachel Sachs, a law professor at the University of Washington in St. Louis, Canada was able to lower its drug prices because they were able to negotiate a better deal. In the United States, however, we have built a system where pharmaceutical companies can charge much higher prices because There’s no way to say: ‘We won’t pay for this medicine if we don’t get it at a better price’.
The current Trump move will finally allow states to bargain with big pharma for a better deal. A better deal will surely help avoid the imminent collapse of healthcare that would happen if things continue as they are at the moment.