Maine governor praises federal plan for prescription drugs
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine is ready to take advantage of a Trump administration proposal that would allow Americans to legally and safely import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday.
The plan reverses years of opposition from federal health authorities. It comes amid a public outcry over high prices for life-sustaining medications.
It’s unclear how soon consumers will see benefits.
Last month, Maine passed a bill to allow for the wholesale importation of prescription drugs from Canada. Such a plan would require federal approval, and was modeled after a law Vermont passed last year.
Mills said she told the federal Health and Human Services secretary that her administration is ready to review and help shape the new rule. Mills signed Maine’s law last month.
“For far too long, we have had to fight the federal government tooth and nail on the issue of safe importation of quality medication — and often unsuccessfully so — which is why I am glad to see the Administration take a positive step in a new direction today,” Mills said in a statement.
This spring, Maine’s legislation drew support from several residents who said they were forgoing or taking on debt to afford medicine for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes.
Critics included the trade group representing pharmaceutical wholesale distributors and companies such as Pfizer, which raised concerns about counterfeiters in the drug industry and different drug regulations in other countries.
But supporters noted that the legislation would require the state to only import prescription drugs that meet FDA safety standards.