Governor signs Canadian drug importation plan

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation Tuesday morning that could eventually lead to cheaper prescription medications, but don’t count on any savings just yet.

New legislation signed by Governor Ron DeSantis could reduce the cost of prescription drug medications. (MGN)

A statement from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, said in part, “Today is a sad day for Floridians. Make no mistake…bad actors around the world are undoubtedly already busy plotting ways to get dangerous counterfeit medicines into the state of Florida.”

With the stroke of his pen, Governor DeSantis likely dealt a blow to the profit margins of big drug companies.

“You have the same exact drug here and in Canada, and it's half the price in Canada, you should be able to buy it there,” said DeSantis.

Big Pharma threw what they had at this legislation in an attempt to stop it and still they failed.

“They spent $6.3 million on television ads in Florida in two weeks,” said Dave Bruns with AARP.

Senate Sponsor Aaron Bean still got a 27-13 vote, by arguing the U.S. pays 30 to 190 percent more for drugs than other countries.

“Don’t tell me there won’t be savings because I got the file to show you,” said Bean.

AARP held a town hall meeting and pushed seniors to call lawmakers. Now it's celebrating a victory it never expected.

“This was in a lot of ways, a long shot. The pharmaceutical drug manufacturers had won every fight like this they had ever undertaken, in every other state but one,” said Bruns.

Federal approval is required before any drugs can cross the border.

Initially, only the state will be able to bring low-cost drugs for inmates and other state facilities, but a second prong of the bill allows pharmacies to apply for a waiver so they can import cheaper drugs as well.

While the Federal Government has never given a state a waiver to import foreign drugs in 16 years, the Governor has spoken personally to the President about the approval, and it is expected late this year.