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Trump Administration wants to allow importation of cheap drugs from Canada

The proposal outlines two potential plans.

The Trump administration announced potential plans Wednesday to import certain prescription drugs from foreign countries to combat rising costs.

In a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two plans were laid out to bring in prescription drugs from countries like Canada at a time when the sky-rocketing cost of medication in the U.S. is at the forefront of the healthcare debate.

The first plan would allow for a pilot program where states, wholesalers and pharmacists could seeking HHS approval by outlining how they would bring in versions of FDA-approved drugs from Canada.

According to the release, this plan would include conditions to ensure all drugs are safe and would lower costs for Americans.

The other plan would help manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs in other countries import versions into the U.S. This plan would also allow these manufacturers to offer these drugs at a lower price than contracts currently require through a program called the National Drug Code.

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"Driving down drug prices requires a comprehensive approach and we must continue to look at all innovative solutions to this challenge," said acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless in a statement. 

"Today’s proposal is the result of the hard work by the dedicated staff of the FDA, in close collaboration with HHS and the White House, to identify potential pathways we can pursue to support the safe importation of certain prescription drugs."

These proposals come after HHS Secretary Alex Azar, a former drug company executive, established a working group last year to examine the possibility of drug importation.

Prescription drug costs have been a significant part of President Donald Trump’s healthcare platform. A 2018 blueprint highlights Trump's plan to offer free generic drugs to seniors, end drug monopolies and increase manufacturers' ability to negotiate prices, among other things. 

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