Florida - Oppose SB 1528 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Florida - Oppose SB 1528

April 17, 2019

Senate Appropriations Committee
Florida Senate
404 South Monroe St
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Senators,

You are scheduled to consider SB 1528, an act to establish the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program, on Thursday, April 18, 2019.  On behalf of the 214,459 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Florida, I ask you to oppose SB 1528.

The federal government is the sole authority that can determine whether the importation of drugs from any country is safe.  No secretary of Health and Human Services or commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of either party has ever certified that importing pharmaceuticals would keep Americans safe from dangerous counterfeit drugs, including the opioids that have caused so much destruction across our country.

The bill assumes Canadian suppliers and vendors will be able to comply with Florida and U.S. law, such as the track and trace system, seek numerous permits, keep voluminous records, and conduct inspections without a substantial upcharge to the drugs.  It assumes U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers will ship more drugs to a Canadian province than the population needs.

Considering the complexity and hazards involved, it would be reckless and expensive to create an importation program.  States are ill-equipped to take on such a project.  It would also be challenged as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Florida should be proud of its commitment to small government and free enterprise.  An importation plan that brings Canadian-style socialized price-controlled medicine to the Sunshine State would not be in line with Florida’s values.

The price of prescription drugs generates much media attention and controversy, and it is understandable that legislators, government officials, and consumers are expressing their concern.  But, the best approach to lowering drug prices is an environment that fosters competition and innovation.  It takes 10 to 12 years to get a new drug through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process, with an average cost of $2.6 billion.

It would be better for Florida state officials to ask their U.S. congressional delegation to continue to hold the FDA’s feet to the fire to make the agency adopt the tools and processes provided in the 21st Century Cures Act to speed up clinical trials and the drug approval process.  In addition, Congress needs to make sure the agency continues to reduce its backlog of generic drug applications and their approval times, particularly for drugs that have no competition even though the patent has expired. 

America and Florida need policies that encourage innovation and competition.  Passing bills that accept and promote harmful price controls, like SB 1528, should be rejected.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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