Vermont becomes first state to permit drug imports from Canada | POLITICO

Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott Wednesday signed legislation making his state the first to legalize importing prescription drugs from Canada, an idea President Donald Trump’s top health officials oppose that’s also drawn fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

A spokeswoman for Scott said he signed the bill Wednesday morning. The measure had overwhelming support in the Democratic-controlled legislature and is one of the most aggressive attempts by a state to tackle rising drug prices that critics say are crippling state finances.

Its enactment also puts the Trump administration in a bind after the rollout of a highly anticipated plan for tackling rising drug costs. HHS still has to certify Vermont’s program.

“Trump is trumpeting his desire to do something about high-cost drugs,” said Democratic state Sen. Claire Ayer, one of the bill sponsors. “I’m hoping that they’ll see it as an opportunity for him to say that he’s done something about high drug prices.”

Trump previously backed the idea of importing drugs from Canada, but his top health appointees have been critical of the practice. HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Monday said any process to import drugs from other countries is a “gimmick.”

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