THURSDAY, Aug. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Americans could import less expensive prescription drugs from Canada under a plan being developed by the Trump administration.
Canada and other developed countries can make deals with pharmaceutical companies to bring down prices, but the United States bars Medicare from negotiating drug prices. One method proposed by Trump's team is to import certain drugs from Canada that are versions of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It would have to be shown that the drugs are safe and would provide significant savings to Americans. The second proposal would enable manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs to import versions of those drugs they sell in other countries.
Americans benefiting the most from the new plan would be patients with significantly pricey prescription medications. These medications include insulin and drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
PhRMA, a trade group representing the drug industry, said the new plan is ill-advised. "The administration's importation scheme is far too dangerous for American patients," PhRMA president and CEO Stephen Ubl said in a statement. "There is no way to guarantee the safety of drugs that come into the country from outside the U.S. gold-standard supply chain. Drugs coming through Canada could have originated from anywhere in the world and may not have undergone stringent review by the FDA. Moreover, Canadian officials have said that the policy is unworkable and they will not risk shortages by diverting their medicine supply to the United States."