HHS to allow for the importation of certain drugs from Canada and other countries

September 25, 2020 / Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced that the Trump Administration will move forward with drug importations from other countries, promising to pass discounts onto consumers in an effort to follow through on the president’s executive order on drug pricing.

HHS Chief of Staff Brian Harrison said this marks the first time in history that the federal agency has entered into the drug importation business.


A final rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration allows for proposals for the importation of certain drugs from Canada and other countries on a state-by-state basis, and also allows for drug importation by pharmacists and wholesalers. 

The FDA will oversee the importation of prescription medications from Canada that are labeled for use in the U.S. The drugs will undergo testing for authenticity and signs of potential degradation, and to ensure they meet specifications and standards before receiving official FDA-approved labeling.

Harrison said this has the potential to result in significant savings for consumers with no additional risks. By way of example, he said Florida could see savings of 60% or more on costly HIV drugs.

Procedures will be created for drug manufacturers to establish drug codes for products originally intended for sale in a foreign country, which Harrison said allows companies to compete through lower costs in ways that were not previously possible.

“This was done with American consumer safety at the forefront of our efforts,” said Harrison. “Even as drug prices over the years have skyrocketed, no president was bold enough to take executive action.”


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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