Colorado Seeking To Join Florida In Importing Prescription Drugs From Canada

Mahshid Moghei, PhD Medically reviewed by Mahshid M. on | Written by Matthew Sommers

Golden Capitol Dome in Denver, Colorado

As prescription drug costs have risen over the years, so have concerns related to the impact. These prices aren’t just affecting bank accounts, they’re affecting health, as many individuals are simply unable to take critical medications they have been prescribed. Various solutions have been proposed, and buying prescription medications from Canada has emerged among the more popular courses of action. 

Individuals often purchase medications directly, but there have also been more broadly proposed policy changes. As the battle to contain prescription drug prices in the United States continues, some states are beginning to take matters into their own hands by proposing bulk importation of medications from Canada. Florida has already succeeded and is in the beginning stages of implementing its plan, and Colorado is continuing to push for an importation plan of its own. 

Bulk Importation of Medications

The United States Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act allows prescription drugs to be dispensed by Canadian pharmacies or wholesalers, provided these medications do not pose risks to health and safety. The FDA evaluates the impact of products on public health and safety and has recently approved the initial phases of Florida’s plan. 

Colorado would be joining several other states that have also expressed interest in buying Canadian medications, including:

  • Maine. 

  • New Hampshire. 

  • New Mexico. 

  • Vermont. 

Resistance to Bulk Importation Plans

From 2022 to 2023 alone, the average drug price increase was 15.2%, and nearly half of all individual price increases exceeded the rate of inflation. This, unfortunately, is nothing new, as prices have steadily risen for decades. Policymakers remain divided on many issues, but the need to address prescription drug prices draws political support from all sides. 

The United States has traditionally maintained a primarily closed distribution system for prescription drugs, and the FDA has maintained strict guidelines. In past years, the FDA has raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of imported products. The recent consideration of states’ plans and Florida’s approval to import from Canada shows a degree of faith in Canadian distribution systems.

PhRMA, a group representing the interests of pharmaceutical companies, has raised concerns about the safety of imported medications. However, these concerns rely heavily on FDA oversight, which may shift toward bringing in Canadian drugs to serve the public interest. Of course, a primary factor on both sides is costs. Pharmaceutical companies are motivated to protect revenue, while more consumers, politicians, and potentially the FDA are increasingly motivated to protect health and reasonable access to medications. The state of Florida estimates an annual savings of $150 million, and Colorado estimates nearly $51 million saved over the course of three years. 

Colorado Drug Importation Plan

Colorado’s proposed importation plan involves eligible products produced by FDA-approved manufacturers. The manufacturers sell these products to a Canadian distributor, who then passes them through an importing company located in the United States. Upon arrival, these medications can then be purchased by pharmacies in Colorado, which may be able to pass savings along to individual consumers. 

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) is continuing to work with the FDA to implement this plan and anticipates approval in 2024. These new drug importation plans will require a monitoring program to ensure safety. Still, FDA approval of bulk importation is an important signal related to the safety and efficacy of medications sourced from Canada. 

How to Find the Best Online Pharmacy

While these policies hold promise for controlling prescription drug prices, there are limitations to be aware of. First, even after successful implementation, savings for individual consumers have the potential to be significantly diluted. Multiple distributors, wholesalers, and the pharmacy itself must purchase the product before it reaches a shelf accessible to American consumers. Insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers further influence the price. 

Many individuals buy directly from Canadian pharmacies to capture more of these savings. Services are also available to help you locate the best prices for the specific medications you need. PlanetDrugsDirect, a prescription referral service, contracts with licensed Canadian pharmacies to help get you the best value possible. Feel free to reach out if you’re having difficulty affording your medications. We would love to help you find the prescription medications you need at a fair price.


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  3. Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2021, June 22). Changes in List Prices, Net Prices, and Discounts for Branded Drugs in the U.S., 2007-2018. Retrieved from

  4. Cubanski, J., & Neuman, T. (2020, February 12). 10 FAQs on Prescription Drug Importation. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from

  5. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. (2024, February 23). Prescription Drug Importation Program: Appendix E - Cost Savings Analysis. Retrieved from

  6. Office of the Governor, State of Florida. (2022, August). Prescription Drug Importation Program. Retrieved from

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