LAKELAND, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis announced today that Florida has filed a lawsuit against the FDA, saying the agency violated federal law and “unlawfully held and unreasonably delayed” approval of the state’s previously approved program to lower pharmaceutical costs.
According to the governor, the lawsuit alleges that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in early July seeking transparency on the process, and that the FDA failed to respond to the FOIA request within the required 30 working days. DeSantis called the state’s program to reduce drug costs “turnkey.”
“We shouldn’t be here, but we’re not just going to take this lying down,” DeSantis said. “It’s unfortunate that we had to do this, but at the end of the day, we’ve waited long enough.”
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY
The governor said the state has provided information when asked for it, but there have been no progress updates from the FDA.
“We have a right to know what the FDA has been doing the past two years,” DeSantis said. “Are they putting politics over patients? Are they putting the interest of big pharma over the interest of average Floridians and taxpayers?”
LEADING THE WAY
Attorney General Ashley Moody says drugs developed in the U.S. are over 200 percent more costly to Americans compared to citizens in other countries. She applauded DeSantis’ willingness to “think outside the box” to “achieve progress for Florida.”
“This seems like somebody would have figured this out before,” Moody said regarding the inflated drug costs. “This is the get-it-done administration. Compare that to the do-nothing Biden administration.”
“No one was talking about this two years ago until we stepped forward, submitted our plan – very well thought out plan – to the Trump administration and now have been waiting under the Biden administration, but a bunch of other states have followed suit,” DeSantis said. “I’d hate to think that the Biden administration would not approve it just because it’s Florida, and they have issues with Florida politically.”
NO MORE WAITING
In addition to the governor and attorney general, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and ACHA Secretary Simone Marstiller addressed the lawsuit from the podium. At various points in the press conference, the speakers also disparaged vaccine misinformation and criticized pharmaceutical industry leaders for putting profits ahead of people.
“This has been a frustrating process from the macro to the micro,” Marstiller said. “My team and I have had so many meetings with the FDA, it’s not even funny. But all we’ve gotten is word salad, bureaucracy, stonewalling, stiff-arming and stall tactics. This thing has been sitting on someone’s desk for well over 600 days.”
“I cannot believe that we have to sue the FDA, just to do its job,” she continued. “It’s outrageous and you all should be outraged and just as frustrated as we are.”
Marstiller anticipates blowback for the decision to sue, but insisted it was the necessary move, saying “I know we’re going to get a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, but it needs to be done.”