HHS Announces Plan to Import Drugs Ahead of Trump Health Care Plan Unveiling in September

August 16, 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to pursue two pathways to allow safe drug importation from foreign markets, and President Trump will reveal his health care reform plan in a major speech next month that will jumpstart the presidential election debate over one of voters' top priorities.

HHS plans to propose a drug importation rule that would:

  • Let states, wholesalers, and pharmacists submit plans to import a limited set of drugs from Canada; and

  • Let pharmaceutical companies import their own products from abroad and sell them in the U.S. at a lower price through a different national drug code than their originals.

President Trump also plans to introduce his health care plan, which will reportedly include:

  • Enabling workers to more easily buy insurance plans other than those provided by their employers,

  • Expand health savings accounts, and

  • Link the transparency of health providers’ prices to quality metrics.

Takeaway:  While Vermont and Florida have been working on their own drug importation plans it is not clear whether any state or suppliers can work out the details with Canada, and it is not clear why drug manufacturers would import their own drugs and sell them for a lower price in the U.S.  President Trump’s health care plan is likely to set up a clear health care reform choice for voters next year.