“For too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices,” Azar said in a statement.
The plan is only preliminary, with several steps remaining before patients can see the drop in their prescription drug prices. The potential change, however, is an important step in the right direction, with President Donald Trump receiving credit for pushing the idea.
The move is a break from the more traditional Republican stance on prescription drug importation.
Since taking office, Trump has made it his mission to combat the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. With 2020 on the horizon, many believe he will look to move fast on the issue.
But Trump and his administration aren't the only ones committed to finding an alternative way to help ailing patients get the medicine they need at a fraction of the cost. Like Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans in Florida have already made efforts to help reduce healthcare costs.
Back in June, DeSantis signed a bill that would allow Florida to pursue importing prescription drugs from abroad.
The bill (HB 19), spearheaded by numerous high-ranking Republicans, opens up a trio of pathways by which medication could flow in. The bill includes countries like Canada and takes advantage of a 2003 federal law that tasks federal officials with authorizing state plans to import prescription drugs.
Components of the Florida bill still require federal approval before the law can take effect. But with yesterday's announcement, Republican leaders in the Sunshine State are optimistic that Trump and company will deliver.
Following the news, a number of Republicans who were instrumental in passing the Florida bill praised Trump wanting to reduce the rising cost.
There is no time frame for implementation of the rules, which could take months to finalize. But the proposed regulations should give Florida the guidance necessary to move forward with its efforts.
The next step will be for Florida to hire a vendor to help develop the plan.
AHCA Secretary Mary Mayhew, a former Trump administration official, issued a statement praising both her current and former bosses.
“President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to make good on his promises to reduce the price of prescription drugs,” she said. “With Governor DeSantis’ strong leadership, we are ready to make the possibility of low cost drugs a reality in Florida."