Sunburn — The Morning Read of What’s Hot in Florida Politics — 5.30.19

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By Peter Schorsch


Florida’s plan to import prescription drugs from Canada has created a schism between the state’s top conservatives and libertarian thought leaders nationwide. 

The latest example: a report from the free-market Heartland Institute that weaves together several potential flaws in the plan. 

“The plans are meeting stiff resistance from the drug industry, taxpayer and conservative groups,” writes Rocco Cimino for Heartland. 

— Apples to oranges: That’s essentially the argument posited by free-marketeers like Heartland’s research director Ed Hudgins. Hudgins argues that prices in other countries are cheaper because they are set up by governments. The anticipated effect? Domestic prescription companies incurring losses that could stifle innovation. 

— Safety: Concern over drug oversight abroad led to criticism of the drug importation programs as they were ushered through Session. “From a political standpoint, it is foolish to push importation. If deaths occur, the politician who promoted it will take the blame,” said Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation

— Nothing new: Florida isn’t the first to attempt to pioneer drug importation. And the data on other pilots isn’t promising. “Several states and cities have set up importation programs over the past 15 years or so and they have failed for lack of use,” Matthews said.

— RecallGrover Norquist with Americans for Tax Reform made similar arguments to lawmakers during Session, something POLITICO Florida chalked up as a loss.

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