White House doesn't back DeSantis on drug importation from Canada

White House doesn't back DeSantis on drug importation from Canada
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The White House stopped short of endorsing Florida's call for it to be able to import prescription drugs from Canada.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisDeSantis wants statue of civil rights activist to replace Confederate figure on Capitol Hill Florida couple wins right to plant vegetables in front yard after years-long legal battle Former sheriff running for reelection after suspension over Parkland shooting MORE (R) said at a press conference on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE had given his support for the state’s proposal.

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“I want you to know I spoke personally to President Trump on both Sunday and Monday about this,” DeSantis said Wednesday. “He's not only supportive, he's enthusiastic, and he wanted me to tell all of you here today that he supports what we're doing and he will take the necessary executive actions to make sure that we can act under this 2003 law.”

But White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere was noncommittal about the proposal in a statement Friday. He said Trump “has instructed his staff to meet with the governor to learn more details about what he is considering.”

“The Administration also looks forward to educating Governor DeSantis on the many policy options the Trump Administration has proposed to reduce costly drug prices for American families,” Deere added.

The Trump administration must approve Florida’s move to allow drug importation for it to take effect, something that no administration has yet done.

If the Trump administration were to follow through with approving Florida’s proposal to import drugs, it would be a major step and a break from the traditional Republican position, which is opposed to drug importation. The idea is more often associated with Democrats.

Last year, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar also called importation a “gimmick” and said it would not work because Canada does not have enough drugs to sell to the United States.

Trump did offer support for drug importation during the 2016 campaign, but he later backed off the idea.

The White House declined to comment on whether Trump had indeed given his personal support to the proposal to DeSantis in a phone conversation, as DeSantis said.