LAKELAND, Fla. — Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis called on the Biden Administration and leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve Florida’s Section 804 Importation Proposal (SIP) for Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program. The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and its partners are ready to launch the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program, leading the nation with our implementation progress.
“In 2019, the Florida Legislature passed several pieces of legislation, including Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program, to reform our health care market by increasing transparency, empowering patients, and reducing costs,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program will improve access to essential medications to our most vulnerable citizens and potentially save the state between $80 to $150 million in the first year alone. Today, we are calling on the Biden Administration to act immediately to approve Florida’s plan that will ultimately help drive down costs for taxpayers.”
“Florida is the first state to have submitted its proposal for importation of Canadian prescription drugs,” said AHCA Secretary Simone Marstiller. “Governor DeSantis’ vision has created a path for state agencies to come together and identify opportunities to achieve cost savings for Florida taxpayers while also providing FDA-approved, safe drugs to our most vulnerable citizens. We are ready to move forward and begin the work of making real change in obtaining safe, low-cost prescription drugs for all Floridians.”
AHCA submitted its SIP in November 2020 and secured a vendor to assist in administering the program in December 2020. Within 90 days of approval, AHCA will be able to physically import prescription drugs and ensure that customs inspections are complete and that proper testing has taken place, and then be able to begin fulfilling state agency orders.
The state will begin by providing prescription drugs in a small number of drug classes which will include maintenance medications to help individuals that have chronic health conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and mental illness. These drugs will be for individuals who are under the care of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Corrections (FDC), and Department of Health (DOH). The program will then expand to include providing imported prescription drugs for Medicaid members across the state.
“Leading the team that developed Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program was one of the highlights of my career at the Agency for Health Care Administration,” said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. “It is exciting to see Governor DeSantis’ vision come to fruition. I look forward to continuing to work with AHCA to bring these savings to Florida taxpayers while ensuring individuals in our care receive high-quality, safe prescription drugs.”
Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) completed its inspection of the LifeScience Logistics, LLC. warehouse. The facility is ready to receive shipments and process orders from participating state agencies.
“Florida has historically led the country in prescription drug supply chain safety and security,” said DBPR Secretary Julie Brown. “Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, our Department is committed to ensuring that Florida continues to ensure that safe, secure, FDA-approved prescription drugs are available in our state. As the implementation of this program progresses, we will continue to work with AHCA and its partners to provide these prescription drugs at a cost-savings to Floridians.”
As the vendor responsible for purchasing, importing, testing, and distributing imported prescription drugs, LifeScience Logistics, LLC. will negotiate with Canadian prescription drug manufacturers on behalf of the state of Florida and will develop an online portal for state agencies to order prescription drugs.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the State of Florida has submitted a comprehensive plan to safely import Canadian prescription drugs for Floridians,” said Richard Beeny, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LifeScience Logistics, LLC. “Over the last 15 years, LifeScience Logistics has become a leading provider of independent healthcare supply chain solutions. We are the preferred partner for managing stockpiles of medical countermeasure for the federal government and other states and believe that the design of Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program represents the most efficient, transparent and secure pharmaceutical supply chain in the country.”
Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program is phased to ensure safety and compliance with all FDA guidelines, serving as the national model for the upwards of 20 states who are pursuing Canadian drug importation.