News Release

Florida’s Plan to Import Prescription Drugs from Canada, the First of its Kind, May Face Obstacles that Could Delay Implementation and Savings

A new KFF policy watch explains some of the hurdles the state of Florida still must clear before it can implement its novel plan to make some prescription drugs more affordable by importing them from Canada.

Florida’s plan represents the first time the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted authority for a state to safely import prescription drugs from another country. However, the state must take some additional steps to move forward with the program and may face other challenges that could delay or even block implementation:

  • Florida officials will need to obtain approval from the FDA for each drug they seek to import. The state also will have to test the quality of such drugs and ensure that drug labels meet FDA standards.
  • The Canadian government has expressed concern about the potential impact of this importation program on the drug supply for Canadians and could impose barriers for importation to the U.S.
  • The drug industry’s lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), has opposed drug importation in the past and may file new legal or administrative challenges to prevent the plan from being implemented.

Beyond implementation challenges, KFF experts unpack other questions related to Florida’s plan, including who will benefit from any savings and what types of drugs will (and will not) qualify for importation. Some of the most expensive drugs, such as biologics, are ineligible for importation.

KFF polling has consistently shown that high prescription drug costs are a concern for the American public and there is strong bipartisan support for many measures to make medications more affordable, including allowing the importation of drugs from Canada.

To see other data and analyses related to efforts to address prescription drug costs, visit

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.