Fierce Pharma Politics—Canada restricts U.S. drug exports after Trump executive order

Canadian pharmaceuticals
Canada is restricting U.S. drug exports after an executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump sought to lower prices through importation. (Shutterstock)

Welcome to the FiercePharma political roundup, where each Monday we’ll highlight developments in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that could affect drug pricing and how drugmakers operate.  

After President Donald Trump issued a range of executive orders targeting high U.S. drug prices in recent months, America's neighbors to the north are responding.  

Following warnings that mass exports could cause domestic drug shortages, Canadian officials blocked the shipment of meds to the U.S. if the exports would “cause or worsen” a shortage, Reuters reports. The Canadian restriction went into effect on Friday, before the United States’ own rule to allow cheaper imports from its neighbor country as a way to lower prices.  

Moving forward, companies in Canada will be “required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages, when requested, and within 24 hours if there is a serious or imminent health risk,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement seen by Reuters. 

RELATED: Trump to unveil international pricing index, rebate crackdown rules 

Canada’s move comes after a setback for another American importation program. The State of Florida sought to team up with a private partner on an importation plan of its own, but attracted zero bidders, Kaiser Health News reported. Florida will press on, a spokesperson said, but the initial setback will result in a delay of several months. 

Trump’s importation measure is only one of several executive orders targeting drug prices he's issued in recent months. Most recently, the president issued executive orders centered on eliminating rebates in Medicare and securing lower prices for pharmaceuticals in Medicare based on prices abroad. 

RELATED: As Trump, Biden face off, could drug pricing reforms await? Experts are split, but pharma is watching closely 

But with less than two months left in Trump’s term, details around the long-term future of the measures remain murky. It isn’t clear whether President-elect Joe Biden will keep the measures, and the pharmaceutical industry has said it’s weighing options to halt the latter measure. Trump’s efforts could face setbacks in court, as well, The New York Times reports