NASHP Applauds Vermont for Taking Next Step in Prescription Drug Importation


Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Vermont Agency for Human Services has presented its report on wholesale importation of prescription drugs from Canada as required by the state’s legislature pursuant to a law enacted last year. The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), with a team of consultants including, LLC and funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, provided staff support to the effort, which concluded that significant savings would result from importation. Based on just 17 high-spend drugs identified for two of the state’s three major carriers, compared to Canadian prices, the savings would be between $1 to $5 million annually.

Trish Riley, Executive Director of NASHP, notes, “Importantly, these savings are a very conservative estimate. Our team added an additional mark-up, including a profit margin for the supply chain, which we think is very high but we wanted to show the minimum savings and be as conservative as possible in assessing those savings. The majority of costs to run the program are within the existing system of wholesale distribution for drugs. Even with additional mark-up to cover the supply chain costs, the savings are still significant.”

Riley said, “We have been pleased to work with Vermont officials on this important project. The work to date has provided a deeper understanding about the benefits and mechanics of importation. The next step is crafting an efficient administrative structure that has the flexibility to build and maintain the program and the resources to do so. This is a new, big idea and finding the best way to manage the program will require a collaboration between the legislature and the Agency. We look forward to that work and know there are a number of other states eager to work with Vermont as they consider similar legislation.”