Let Florida (ahem, but really everyone) Import Prescription Drugs

Written by Lucia Mueller | Posted June 04, 2021 | Updated June 16, 2021

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is attempting to halt a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under former President Donald Trump that would allow states to import drugs from Canada. Why does this matter when millions of American individuals, despite current federal prohibitions, already order medications from Canada, the UK, Australia, etc.? Those that do so pay substantially lower prices than they would at a pharmacy down the street; even lower if they go through mailorder pharmacies located in Turkey or India. Big Pharma isn’t a fan of individual Americans cutting into their U.S. market profit margins, let alone the initiative of an entire state to do so. State drug importation initiatives could help so many more people struggling to afford prescription medications. President Biden is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, and Florida governor DeSantis has called on the Biden administration to green light expressly allowing Florida to begin importing drugs.

How Much Individual Floridians Save Through Importing Prescription Drugs

Wary patient consumers call PharmacyChecker.com daily trying to find a way to afford many different prescriptions, but one patented brand name comes up time and time again: Eliquis. Eliquis is prescribed often for the prevention of strokes or blood clots in people who have atrial fibrillation. With no generic available in the U.S., Floridians are left to their own devices. Doctors frequently refer them to PharmacyChecker.com to compare costs among pharmacies located outside the U.S. that are vetted and monitored for safety. A one-month supply is 90% cheaper for people to order from an accredited pharmacy in Turkey rather than filling the prescription at a local Walmart or Walgreens. The savings from a Canadian online pharmacy are also substantial: 74%.

Below is just a taste of what American patients are saving by ordering medications from pharmacies located elsewhere.

US vs Imported Prescription Drug Costs

Brand Name (Quantity & Strength) USA Canada International  
Premarin (30 tablets, 0.625 mg) $189.69 $27.12 $11.42  
Januvia (30 tablets, 100 mg) $497.04 $124.31 $24.28  
Eliquis (60 tablets, 5 mg) $492.59 $126.32 $52.48  
Advair Diskus (1 inhaler, 250/50 mcg) $390.40 $139.95 $39.99  
Janumet (30 tablets, 50/1000 mg) $251.42 $63.66 $15.82  
Flovent HFA (1 inhaler, 110 mcg) $524.31 $81.95 $27.90  
Symbicort Inhaler (1 inhaler, 160/4.5 (200/6) mcg) $255.53 $128.95 $63.95  
Vesicare (30 tablets, 10 mg) $386.99 $68.32 $32.98  
Viagra (30 tablets, 100 mg) $2,313.24 $373.82 $186.80  
Xarelto (30 tablets, 20 mg) $492.78 $106.32 $42.84  

Price information collected June 2021. USA prices are a sample of the discounts available when using the U.S. Prescription Discount Card on PharmacyChecker.com. Discounts may be more or less substantial in your area; Canada and International prices are the lowest prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com by pharmacies that sell to Americans and meet the qualifications of the PharmacyChecker Verification Program.

The ability of individual patients to obtain medications more cheaply through personal importation is key to medication adherence, too often the difference between life and death. Greenlighting Florida’s wholesale drug importation program would most definitely help more people maintain their health and finances. Unfortunately, while the Biden administration is willing to defend its executive turf with its motion to dismiss Big Pharma’s case, it is apparently in no hurry to actually approve Florida’s importation program proposal -- or those of other states for that matter.

We’ll keep waving the flag of international drug savings as the politicians continue to discuss, discuss, discuss.

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