Ad campaign claims imported medicines are risky for Floridians

A national organization is attacking Gov. Ron DeSantis' proposal to allow prescription medications from Canadian to be imported to Florida.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines launched a statewide ad campaign in an attempt to convince Floridians that importing medications opens consumers is too risky.

Shabbir Imber Safdar, the organization's executive director said there are no assurances that imported medicines are the same as ones manufactured in the U.S. However, importing prescriptions medication is already a common practice in the U.S., just not from Canada.

DeSantis has said he believes giving patients access Canadian drugs would drive down the continually-rising cost of prescription medications.

"If you have Canada drugs, the same drug costs 25% of what it costs here, we want Floridians to be able to share in those discounts," the governor said during a news conference earlier this month.

A new ad campaign says the risks outweigh the benefits.

"There is a 20-year history of companies like that selling substandard and outright placebo counterfeits to Americans, taking their money and, in some cases, leaving them at the mercy of their diseases," claimed Imber Safdar in an interview with FOX 13 News.

He described his organization as a nonprofit that is made up of 70 other healthcare nonprofit organizations. He told FOX 13 he is dedicated to protecting patients from risky policies.

The commercials, which recently started airing in the Tampa Bay market, including on FOX 13, warn viewers, "State senators are pushing a new government program that allows drugs from China...too many have already died from counterfeit drugs. Are you willing to take that risk?"

FOX 13 Medical Reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco said counterfeit drugs are an issue, but added that the majority of prescription medications sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas. Dr. Jo said the facilities in which those drugs are produced must be inspected by the FDA or a trusted inspector from another country. DeSantis has said the only Canadian drugs accepted in the U.S. would come from FDA-approved facilities.

Florida lawmakers have been considering bills in the House of Representatives and Senate. The legislation has been moving through the legislature, but would still require federal approval. President Trump has indicated to DeSantis that he supports the governor's proposal.