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» FDA to Allow States to Import Drugs from Canada

September 28, 2020

Legislation, Prescription Drugs

Last week, the Trump administration finally released it’s final rule for lowering drug prices after teasing the rule for months.

Under this rule, states are allowed to import drugs from Canada as long as it would save consumers money and won’t impose safety risks to the public.

What Country Pays the Most for Prescription Drugs?

This is a win for the U.S., or the opposite of a win.

According to the Ways and Means Committee of the House, the United States spent $357 billion in 2016 on retail (pharmacy) and non-retail (physician offices) drugs. U.S. drug pricesthe

Medicare alone presents issues with how it purchases drugs and spent $130 billion on prescription drugs in 2016 alone. And between 2011 and 2016, drug spending nationwide grew by 27 percent, more than 2.5 times inflation.

And according to a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 79 percent of Americans believe the costs of prescriptions are unreasonable. Most worryingly, 26 percent are worried they cannot afford the prescription drugs they need.

Can Prescriptions Be Filled Internationally Now?

Not yet. The rule takes effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, so this isn’t happening overnight.

However, 60 days isn’t that far off, so be ready to see organizations mobilize around meeting the opportunities presented by this rule.

One example of the opportunity to import drugs is Medicare Part D. The House Ways and Means report estimates that the U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using the average drug prices for comparative countries

How Can You Get Discounted Prescriptions?

Right now, the best method to getting discounted prescriptions is by applying for rebates from drug manufacturers. Many of the largest drug manufacturers have rebate programs based on income and other factors which can return some or all of the cost of medications to consumers.

One of the best ways to getting discounted prescriptions is to work with a transparent pharmacy benefit manager, one of the key components of a Strategic Healthcare Plan.


If you have questions about discounted prescription drugs for yourself or through your company, schedule time here with one of our benefits consultants.



Final Rule as issued by the administration

A Painful Pill to Swallow: U.S. vs. International Prescription Drug Prices” Ways and Means Committee Staff. Sep 2019.

FDA will allow states to import drugs from Canada.” Michael Brady. Modern Healthcare. Sep 24 2020.

Public Opinion on Prescription Drugs and Their Prices” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2019.

Posted by in Legislation, Prescription Drugs