ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Just how much will Floridians see in savings if the legislature passes a drug importation law?
The Florida Senate now awaits a vote on importing prescription drugs from Canada.
- MORE: FDA Fact Sheet
- LINK: PharmacyChecker.com
- Vermont Study on Import Pricing
- Importation Laws Study
The Florida House passed their bill and it's a big priority in Gov. Ron Desantis' agenda.
Some Floridians are already getting their online prescriptions from Canada.
PharmacyChecker.com is a website that verifies online prescriptions coming from overseas and tracks pricing throughout the nation and abroad.
PharmacyChecker.com co-Founder Gabriel Levitt said consumers will benefit if we start importing drugs from Canada.
"They will be able to obtain savings," said Levitt. "For brand name drugs that there is no generic option, the savings can often be 70 percent."
Levitt gave two examples.
Januvia, which treats Type 2 Diabetes, sells for $1,424 dollars for a 90-pill bottle.
If you get it from Canada, the same bottle will cost you $340.
Xarelto, which treats blood clots, sells for $1,410 in the U.S.
If you get it from Canada, it'll cost you $316.
While critics of the import plan say inspection costs will drive up the price and in the end there won't be savings, Levitt doesn't think that's true.
He argued it's more about current regulation.
Canada regulates pharmaceuticals and how much they can charge, while the U.S. does not.
"Popular medications sold at your local pharmacies are being made in Germany and the U.K. What does that mean?" posed Levitt. "It means we already have importation."
The FDA has on its own website "80 percent of pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturers are located outside of the U.S."
This begs the question, why are we paying more than Canada, if we're getting the same drugs from the same place?
"Florida should look at the state of Vermont," said Levitt.
Vermonters passed the first drug importation law in the country last year. Their analysis found insurers could save $2.61 to $2.82 per member, per month.
It's a total of one to $5 million in savings.
Vermont has a little more than 600,000 residents. It's a fraction of Florida's 20 plus million in population.
Levitt said market forces could drive even more savings.
The Vermont law as well as a potential Florida law to import Canadian prescriptions would rely on the federal government to give the go ahead.