President Trump signals support for Colorado plan to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada

John Ingold and Jesse Paul
The Colorado Sun
FILE - In this July 10, 2018 file photo, bottles of prescription medicines ride on a conveyor belt at a pharmacy warehouse in Florence, N.J. While much of the stock market sprints ahead powered by economic gains and investor confidence, the health care sector is limping behind. Drugmakers and health insurers have been on the defensive most of the year as politicians criticize the high cost of prescription drugs and medical care.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

President Donald Trump told Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in a phone call Wednesday that he approves of the state’s plan to lower prescription costs by importing drugs from Canada.

“The president expressed his support for the drug importation bill and his commitment to ensuring Colorado receives approval,” a spokeswoman for Polis said in a statement Thursday.

The president’s backing may remove a big uncertainty around a plan that lawmakers hope can cut prices by as much as 50% for certain drugs that will be part of the program. The state is still putting together specifics of the program, including the list of drugs eligible to be imported. But it will ultimately require federal approval to be done legally.

“That’s half the battle,” state Sen. Joann Ginal, a Democrat from Fort Collins who sponsored the drug importation bill at the Capitol this year, said upon hearing of Trump’s supportive comments.

The other half may be more difficult, though. Ginal said the proposal must be approved by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who will require the state to show that the program will actually reduce costs and be safe for patients. In a break with his boss, Azar has criticized the idea that imported drugs from Canada can reduce pharmaceutical prices in America.

Support Local Journalism

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at

Support Local Journalism