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Biden is blocking DeSantis from letting Floridians access cheaper medication

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 9/1/2022 Brad Polumbo
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a simple plan that would allow Floridians to access cheaper prescription medication. There’s just one roadblock: the Biden administration.

The governor’s office said it has been waiting 630 days for approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its proposal to import cheap, safe medications from Canada.

“Florida has been ready to deliver cheaper prescription drugs to those that need them for nearly two years,” the Republican said. “The lack of transparency by the Biden administration during the approval process, and failure to provide records on the importation proposal, is costing Floridians who are facing rising prices across the board due to inflation.”

Florida is now suing the Biden administration over its delays and failure to respond to information requests about the status of the program. I’ll leave it to the lawyers to hash out the merits of the lawsuit, but on its face, this situation reveals either incompetence or cynical partisanship from the Biden administration.

Importing prescription drugs from Canada, where they are generally cheaper, is a great, pro-market way to make healthcare more affordable. Only Big Pharma and its lackeys really oppose this because it undercuts their bottom line by increasing competition. They say it’s “unsafe,” but come on — we’re talking about Canada, not Somalia. Aside from those with crony interests at play, most can see why this is a commonsense move.

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), of all people, has praised DeSantis’s effort, calling it “great.”

“If we can import vegetables, poultry, fish, and every item that you can think of from other countries, then there is no reason that we cannot safely, with FDA approval, reimport medicine manufactured abroad at a far lower price than we pay in the U.S.,” the progressive senator told Insider.

If figures as ideologically disparate as DeSantis and Sanders can agree on a policy, there’s a good chance they’re on to something.

The governor’s office said its importation program would save Floridians $150 million a year. And much of these savings would accrue to taxpayers since the drugs would be imported in part to save money on government healthcare programs and lower healthcare costs for inmates. It’s the definition of a win-win: increased healthcare access for the poor and “marginalized,” as liberals would put it, while increasing free market competition and saving taxpayers money.

Why, then, is President Joe Biden’s FDA standing in the way?

We don’t know — because all the FDA will say when reporters ask what’s up is “no comment.” One can certainly speculate, however.

It might just be incompetence. With the federal government, you can certainly never rule that explanation out. But that would belie the president’s many campaign promises that he would “put the adults back in charge” and get the government working for the people — and nonetheless reflect poorly on this administration.

The more cynical explanation is rooted in politics. DeSantis is considered one of the most likely Republicans to face off against Biden or his Democratic successor in 2024. It could be that the White House simply doesn’t want to give DeSantis a big policy victory and is willing to let Floridians suffer just to avoid bolstering an electoral rival.

Either way, it’s wildly unacceptable.

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a co-founder of Based-Politics.com, a co-host of the BasedPolitics podcast, and a Washington Examiner contributor.

 

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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, Joe Biden, Ron DeSantis, FDA

Original Author: Brad Polumbo

Original Location: Biden is blocking DeSantis from letting Floridians access cheaper medication

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