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article imageOp-Ed: White House to roll out plan to get cheaper drugs from Canada

By Karen Graham     Nov 25, 2019 in Politics
President Donald Trump said Friday that his administration will soon release a plan that will allow states to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.
“While we had the first prescription drug price decrease in 50 years, Americans still pay far too much for drugs — other countries pay far less — that is WRONG!” Trump said in a tweet, according to CNBC. “We will soon be putting more options on the table...”
It's not exactly clear how this latest plan has changed from the one the administration proposed in July. The Department of Health and Human Services proposal said that under the plan, "states, wholesalers and pharmacists, acting as intermediaries for consumers, would draft a proposal for safe importation of prescription drugs already available in the U.S. The groups would then submit the proposal to the Food and Drug Administration for approval."
Of course, the plan goes against federal law - according to the FDA. It is illegal for individuals to import medications from other countries for personal use. On top of that, Canadian health officials and the pharmaceutical industry are also against the plan.
And Trump's claim that drugs would be "MUCH CHEAPER," as he promised in his tweet is not exactly true, especially when one takes into consideration that any request would need FDA approval, and not all drugs could be imported.
This being said, it is probable that Trump will release his plan after Thanksgiving, the same time Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a planned vote on her proposal. Pelosi's proposal would allow the government to negotiate prices for up to 250 drugs per year, with tough financial penalties for companies that refused to come to the table.
Trump is now publicly bashing the Democrat's proposal, tweeting on Friday: “Pelosi and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn’t do the trick. FEWER cures! FEWER treatments!” All this ranting came about after Trump met with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a leading opponent of Pelosi’s bill, on Thursday.
It is a stupid "non-plan"
Again, our president is going off, half-cocked, on a tangent that would create all kinds of problems, including endangering the health of consumers on both sides of our northern border.
Former Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said Trump’s proposal threatens Canada’s supply of drugs and could raise prices for Canadians.
A Walgreens pharmacy
A Walgreens pharmacy
JeepersMedia (CC BY 2.0)
Canada’s Office of the Minister of Health issued a statement on Friday, making it very clear this off-the-cuff plan is not workable' “Our message remains the same: we are sympathetic to U.S. concerns regarding the cost of prescription drugs and share the goal of ensuring that our citizens can get and afford the medication they need,” press secretary Alexander Cohen said. “Yet Canada’s pharmaceutical market is simply too small to have any real impact on American prices.”
The pharmaceutical industry argues that importing prescription drugs could threaten consumer safety. Even more to the point, importing drugs increases the potential for counterfeit or adulterated products.
Chris Holt, director of health care policy at the right-leaning American Action Forum said, “The president is focused on trying to reduce drug prices. Medicare direct negotiation is one way to do that. There’s clearly not a lot of support from Republicans for that.”
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about drug pricing, Medicare drugs, Trump administration, Canada health officials, Politics
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