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Florida's governor wants to lower cost of prescription drugs

DeSantis Administration considering purchasing drugs from Canada
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Cape Coral on July 8, 2022.jpg
Posted at 12:48 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 17:20:02-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took the stage at Cape Coral High School on Friday to announce a plan to lower the cost of prescription medications for residents in the state.

DeSantis announced he would sign an executive order that would allow the state to hold prescription benefit managers, or PBMs, accountable for the prices people are ultimately charged for their medications, and open the door to reforms. He said it would also help smaller, independent pharmacies that want to stock those medications.

WATCH: Florida's governor announces prescription drug plan

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds news conference in Cape Coral

DeSantis said he asked Simone Marstiller, secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, to look into PBMs and help devise a way to ensure cost-saving measures will be put in place.

"They do much more than set prices," Marstiller explained. "They manage prior authorization. They have to approve your getting your prescription, even after your physician has deemed you need it."

Marstiller said the executive order would be used as a foundation to an overall reform of the prescription industry.

Simone Marstiller, secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, speaks at a news conference on July 8, 2022.jpg
Simone Marstiller, secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, speaks at a news conference on July 8, 2022.

The governor also said he is looking into a provision in federal law that would allow states to purchase drugs from Canada and is working with federal agencies to activate that provision. He has submitted a proposal to the FDA and submitted a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency to find out the status of the proposal.

"[The FDA] may very well may not be able to comply with a 20-day deadline," Marstiller said about the wait. "We've gotten zero commitment from the FDA to do this."

DeSantis said a warehouse in Polk County is "ready to go" to receive the medications as soon as that approval is given, but he hinted there may be a legal battle in the near future to get the program going.

In discussing the upcoming school year, DeSantis said he would blockade any attempts to require a vaccine mandate in public schools.

AHCA officials will meet in Tallahassee Friday to discuss a proposed rule that would block Medicaid coverage for hormone therapy, puberty-blocking medications, and related treatments for transgender patients.