Trump administration moving ahead with plan to allow importation of some drugs to cut prices

The Trump administration is pushing forward with a plan to allow for the importation of certain drugs with an eye towards lowering prescription prices for all Americans.

The rule aims to empower states to craft their own regulations allowing companies to import some drugs from Canada, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration plans to announce the rule, federal officials told the paper, noting that about a dozen states including Colorado and Florida have sought permission to import medications that meet U.S. quality assurance levels.

Also, the paper said, draft guidance will announced Wednesday as well by the Department of Health and Human Services the will enable the importation of certain meds that are also manufactured and sold in other countries.’

Opening up additional markets for drug importation is a central tenet of the Trump administration’s overall plan to get prices down for prescriptions.

But officials note that the administration is keen to ensure that the quality of drugs it allows to be imported will need to meet current U.S. standards.

“We will not take steps that will harm patients or our drug supply,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a press call.

Under the administration’s draft guidance, any drugs imported would first have to be tested for quality and safety. Also, the administration said the drugs must meet FDA approval.

Drug prices are higher in the U.S. than other Western countries.

In Canada, the government regulates the prices. In Europe, governments directly or indirectly control their costs through a negotiating process, the WSJ reported.

U.S. drug prices, meanwhile, are established on the open market, often with far less negotiating between drug makers, healthcare providers, and insurers.

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