Trump administration outlines plan to allow the US to import cheaper drugs from Canada
US To Import Cheaper Drugs From Canada

The Trump administration outlined on Wednesday a proposal that would allow the U.S. to legally import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, a tactic the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and regulators have warned could threaten consumer safety.

Under the plan, states, wholesalers and pharmacists, acting as intermediaries for consumers, would draft a proposal for safe importation of prescription drugs already available in the U.S. The groups would then submit the proposal to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

“President Trump has been clear: for too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices, ” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. “Today’s announcement outlines the pathways the administration intends to explore to allow safe importation of certain prescription drugs to lower prices and reduce out of pocket costs for American patients.”

Is Canadian Healthcare Free?

The real question is, what do you define as “free”? Canada’s healthcare is funded by a “single-payer” system, but it doesn’t function as one single, unified system. Coverage is publicly-funded, meaning that the funds come from federal and provincial taxes.

Some estimates, such as those of the Fraser Institute, put the average cost at about $5,789 a year per person. Meaning Canadian healthcare is far from free.

Additionally, care is provided by plans created in each province or territory, rather than a single, unified federal health plan. The Canadian government pays into these plans, but each territory and province is responsible for taking this money to create their own system under the guidelines set forth by Canadian Health Act (CHA).

For example, all “necessary” health services – like surgical dentistry, hospitals, and doctors – must be insured by the public plan.