Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Senate president cautious on DeSantis drug importation proposal

Galvano told reporters Friday he had concerns that parts of a plan, sketched out by the House, might run afoul of Congress’ jurisdiction.
Galvano addresses reporters Friday.
Published Feb. 22
Updated Feb. 22

A proposal from Gov. Ron DeSantis to reduce prescription drug prices by importing medications from Canada is drawing concerns from the leader of the Florida Senate, who said Friday he worries parts of a plan sketched out by the House might run afoul of Congress’ jurisdiction.

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, told reporters Friday that the governor’s plan to allow the state to import drugs from America’s northern neighbor was something he was “interested in exploring,” particularly to save the state money for Medicaid patients or institutions like state prisons’ health care.

But he threw cold water on another potential plan, included in a House bill mirroring DeSantis’ announcement, that would allow individuals or private entities to receive imported drugs from abroad.

“We would not have enforcement from the federal government, similar to the situation we find ourselves in with marijuana,” said Galvano, nodding to the fact that medical marijuana is authorized by the state but still prohibited federally.

He also questioned the regulatory authority of such a program: “Once you’re moving across from state to state, or from other countries to our state, that is interstate commerce, and that’s the province of the U.S. Congress.”

DeSantis announced in The Villages Wednesday that he would ask the Legislature to craft a program that would allow importing drugs from Canada into the state — and that he had spoken twice in recent days with President Donald Trump about securing federal approval with the president’s “enthusiastic” support.

A provision in a 2003 federal law would permit the federal Department of Health and Human Services to green-light any state program to import drugs from abroad, though it has never approved such a state program since the law went into effect.

A bill filed by Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, later that day appeared to outline some of the working details of DeSantis’ plan, directing the state Agency for Health Care Administration to find a vendor that would create a list of drugs that might yield savings and find Canadian sources to export drugs to the state. It would require a list be determined by December and a proposal to federal officials be submitted by July 2020.

But House officials are also hoping to create an avenue to allow drug importation from other countries that could benefit private citizens: The bill filed by Leek also allows for an “international” program where wholesale drug distributors and pharmacies abroad could export medication to similar drug distributors, pharmacies and pharmacists registered with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. (Pharmacists can currently only order drugs under a pharmacy permit.)

Galvano said he was “not as comfortable” with the second path but that he remains open to considering the first proposal included in Leek’s bill, which does not yet have a Senate companion. “If we can reduce prices after the people who are the vendors have been properly vetted, that’s a good thing.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4. LAWRENCE MOWER  |  Lawrence Mower
    It’s unclear how state and county officials plan on complying with the judge’s order, however. The “poll tax” issued wasn’t addressed, either.
  2. The Florida Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The job entails being a part-time lobbyist, part-time expert on the Florida Sunshine Law.
  3. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  4. Igor Fruman, hugs Florida Governor elect Ron DeSantis, right, as Lev Parnas looks on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Orlando at the watch party for DeSantis. Fruman and Parnas were arrested last week on campaign finance violations. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    Florida’s governor has shrugged off past donor controversies. This time, there were photos. Now it’s not going away.
  5. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
  6. Senador de Florida, Rick Scott.  Foto: AP
    “The FBI has failed to give me or these families an acceptable answer, but I’m not going to allow that,” Scott said, adding that the FBI didn’t share pertinent information on shootings at Pulse, the...
  7. Courtney Wild, 30, was a victim of serial sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein beginning at the age of 14. Epstein paid Wild, and many other underage girls, to give him massages, often having them undress and perform sexual acts. Epstein also used the girls as recruiters, paying them to bring him other underage girls. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
    Courtney Wild’s relentless quest for justice has led to a bipartisan push for sweeping reforms.
  8. Scott Israel, former Broward County Sheriff speaks during a news conference on Sept. 25, in Davie. A Florida Senate official is recommending that the sheriff, suspended over his handling of shootings at a Parkland high school and the Fort Lauderdale airport, should be reinstated. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Naples lawyer Dudley Goodlette was threatened shortly after he made his recommendation last month.
  9. Rep. Jamie Grant, R- Tampa and Senator Jeff Brandes, R- St. Petersburg listen to Amendment 4 debate in the Florida Senate on Thursday. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “I think some of the points of the judge were well-made," Sen. Jeff Brandes said.
  10. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — did not respond this past week to requests from the Miami Herald to address her $761,560 annual salary. She is head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]
    The Florida Department of Children and Families started a review of a domestic violence nonprofit’s finances last summer after it was reported that its CEO Tiffany Carr was paid $761,000. The state...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement