prescription drug prices

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week that, if federal authorities give it their go-ahead — still a very big if — would allow his state to import prescription drugs from Canada. That makes Florida the third state to pass such a law, joining Vermont and Colorado. More such legislative attempts are in the works.

When the first HIV drug, AZT, came to market in 1987, it cost $10,000 a year.

That price makes Peter Staley laugh today. "It sounds quaint and cheap now, but $10,000 a year at that time was the highest price ever set for any drug in history," he says.

DAYLINA MILLER / WUSF

A controversial bill (HB 19) that would allow for the importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada into Florida now sits on Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk.

META VIERS / Miami Herald

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average Americans spend $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, which is more than any other developed country in the world.

Canadian Drug Imports Could Get Go-Ahead

Apr 29, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada inched closer to passage Friday in the Senate. 

House Approves Canadian Drug Imports

Apr 12, 2019

Drugs from Canada could be imported into Florida if the federal government agrees, under a bill that passed the state House on Thursday. 

DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF

Floridians spend a lot on prescription drugs -- more than $30 billion last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Now at least some Florida lawmakers say they have a way to save consumers money on drugs: get them for less from Canada.

In his first weeks in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed the idea of the state importing drugs from Canada. State lawmakers quickly took up the idea. They say that could save Floridians up to 80 percent on what they currently pay for drugs.

Drug Importation Vote Delayed

Apr 5, 2019

A Senate health care panel ran out of time Thursday and was unable to consider a measure aimed at allowing imported prescription drugs from Canada. 

As the heat turns up on drug manufacturers who determine the price of insulin and the health insurers and middlemen who determine what patients pay, one company — Cigna's Express Scripts — announced Wednesday it will take steps by the end of the year to help limit the drug's cost to consumers.

Express Scripts, which manages prescription drug insurance for more than 80 million people, is launching a "patient assurance program" that Steve Miller, Cigna's chief clinical officer, says "caps the copay for a patient at $25 a month for their insulin — no matter what."

Herald Archive

Two of Florida’s leaders have very different ideas about how to make medications more affordable for patients.

Florida Senator Rick Scott introduced the Transparent Drug Pricing Act which would require drug companies to list out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

House Panel Backs Giving Florida Access To Foreign Drugs

Mar 19, 2019

Floridians could gain access to cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and other foreign countries under legislation approved by a state House committee Monday amid concern it could open the door to subpar and even dangerous medications. 

When Erin Gilmer filled her insulin prescription at a Denver-area Walgreens in January, she paid $8.50. U.S. taxpayers paid another $280.51.

She thinks the price of insulin is too high. "It eats at me to know that taxpayer money is being wasted," says Gilmer, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while a sophomore at the University of Colorado in 2002.

The diagnosis meant that for the rest of her life she'd require daily insulin shots to stay alive. But the price of that insulin is skyrocketing.

About a quarter of Americans surveyed say they've had trouble paying for their prescription drugs, and a majority welcome government action to help cut the cost of medications.

A survey released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many people have skipped or rationed their prescription medications or have substituted cheaper over-the-counter drugs.

On Tuesday, Kenneth Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck, is set to face senators who say drug costs are "sky-high" and "out of control."

But Frazier doesn't need new talking points. Sixty years ago, a different panel of senators grilled a different Merck boss about the same problem.

To a striking degree, the subjects likely to surface Tuesday — high drug prices and profits, limited price transparency, aggressive marketing, alleged patent abuse and mediocre "me too" drugs — are identical to the issues senators investigated decades ago, historical transcripts show.

DeSantis Looks To Canada To Lower Drug Costs

Feb 21, 2019

Pointing to the high costs of health care, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced plans to create a program that would allow Floridians to have access to FDA-approved drugs from Canada. 

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