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    Obamacare Repeal: What May Replace It

    Allowing Drug Imports From Other Countries

    In his interview for Time magazine’s "Person of the Year,” Trump said, “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices.”

    Trump’s website outlines broad plans for health care, which include “allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas.” The idea has typically been supported by many Democrats as well, including Trump opponent Hillary Clinton.

    Although it’s unclear how this would work, experts say it’s likely that various programs or insurers would be allowed to make deals in order to bring medications from other countries to Americans.

    Pros: By allowing Americans to legally buy medications from other countries in which the government regulates the price of drugs, they’ll save on their medication costs.

    Cons: “What this policy is saying is that we won’t regulate drug prices here in the U.S., but we’ll take advantage of the fact that other countries do,” Blumberg says.

    And, because it’s likely that insurers or other third parties would help facilitate sales, Haislmaier says any hoped-for cost savings will probably be eaten up by middlemen.

    “You go to Canada and buy drugs and get them cheaper because they regulate prices and we don’t. You buy it for $100 instead of $200. What happens when you get a middleman to do it for you? Someone goes to Canada and they don’t sell it to you for $100, they sell it to you for $190. They pocket $90.”

    Given potential problems with this approach, Haislmaier is skeptical about the likelihood of policies allowing drugs to be imported from overseas being included in any future health plans.

    “I don’t see it taking place.”

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    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 13, 2016
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