Speaking Thursday at a rally at a Florida retirement community, President Donald Trump suggested that HHS is on the verge of approving the state’s drug importation plan.
Trump praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for signing into law a bill that would allow the state's residents and its Medicaid program to import drugs from Canada and other countries.
The Florida law includes two pathways to allow drug reimportation under state agency supervision. Under one pathway, the state would create a program that would allow Florida residents to purchase drugs from outside the U.S. The other would import drugs from Canada for state agencies, such as Medicaid.
For either pathway to be implemented, HHS must certify that importation can be done safely and that it will reduce costs.
At the rally, Trump promised to lower the prices of drugs by buying them “from a slightly different source. A little unconventional.”
Later, in an apparent reference to a request from DeSantis to start drug importation, Trump asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar “when can they do what we want them to do?” Trump then reported: “Alex says soon. They will have a big, fat, beautiful surprise for you.”
Trump also asserted that his administration has lowered drug prices despite pharmaceutical industry lobbying. “We're lowering the cost of prescription drugs, taking on the pharmaceutical companies, and you think that's easy [but] it's not easy. They come at you from all different sides.”
The president added: “I wouldn't be surprised if the hoax didn't come a little bit from some of the people we are taking on. They are very powerful, they spend a lot of money, more than any other group in the world actually in terms of lobbying and lobbying abilities, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the nonsense we all have to go through… was from some of these industries like pharmaceuticals that we take on.”
Trump didn’t elaborate on the “hoax.” He has used the term several times this week to refer to the House impeachment inquiry.