Policy experts are anticipating that a Biden presidency will likely result in the prioritization of allowing Medicare to negotiate cheaper drug prices over drug imports, depending on whether Republicans will hold their Senate majority. Experts suggest that if Congress is able to pass legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate cheaper drug prices under a Biden administration, then guidance on drug importation may no longer be necessary.
The FDA unveiled a final rule earlier this month permitting states and tribes to import drugs from Canada, following an executive order from President Trump in July of this year directing the agency to take actions to allow for the importation and re-importation by states, wholesalers, and pharmacies of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs from Canada.
While President Trump has received pushback from drug makers and U.S. pharmacists who say they don’t want to be responsible for imported drugs, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that the majority of the public supports allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada, with 75% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans and 82% of independents favoring the idea.
States that have already begun working on importation plans include Vermont, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. Florida is also working on a drug importation plan but has not been able to successfully attract a bidder for its contract to operate the program.