On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that his office would be suing the Biden administration over alleged delays of the Canadian drug importation program that would allow his state to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. DeSantis says he hopes Floridians aren’t being punished over political differences with the federal government.
The lawsuit, filed in Tampa federal court, alleges that the FDA has held up Florida’s application to begin getting medications to treat diabetes, Hepatitis C, HIV and other illnesses for almost two years.
Florida applied for the program back in November 2020, the first state to do so, according to Politico. In July 2021, President Biden signed an executive order ordering the FDA to implement it.
However, back in March Simone Marstiller, secretary for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, told the FDA “that Florida had already waited 500 days for its application to be approved.” Now, several months later there has still been no word.
“This has been sitting on someone’s desk for 600 days,” Marstiller said Wednesday. “This is not what government is supposed to do.”
State health officials claim that the importation of low-cost drugs could save Floridians around $150 million annually.
“After 630 days, you know, we still sit here waiting for an answer. And so it’s our view that we’ve waited long enough,” DeSantis said Wednesday. “We have a right to know what the FDA has been doing the last two years. Are they putting politics over patients? Are they putting the interest of Big Pharma over the interest of average Floridians?”
Speaking from Lakeland, near Tampa, the Republican governor spoke about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s review of an application to get medications to treat a number of ailments as part of the Canadian drug importation program, wondering if the Biden administration was intentionally delaying the approval.
“I’d hate to think that the Biden admin would not approve it just because it’s Florida, because they have issues with Florida politically … because this will benefit people … regardless of political persuasion,” he said.
The lawsuit asks a federal judge to order the FDA to approve the application, DeSantis said Wednesday.
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