TORONTO – Many Canadian drug suppliers can not, or will not, agree to ship cheap prescription drugs to the United States, new challenges for encouraging the Trump to lower drug prices, company and industry officials told Reuters.

The government on Wednesday proposed new rules that would allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada. They would need a state like Florida to partner with a wholesale license by Health Canada, which regulates drugs.

Florida and other states have said they are eager to begin the import program, and the federal government’s proposal taking one step closer to approving the plan. But there are practical obstacles to actually carry drugs.

Two drug distributors and two Canadian industry groups which between them represent all the potential suppliers mentioned in the proposal published by Florida in August said they were not interested in participating.

“We have not been contacted and we are not planning to participate,” said Loblaw Companies Ltd. <L.TO>, which has Canada’s largest pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart. “Patients Canada is currently facing a shortage of products, and drugs and we were concerned that this initiative can exacerbate what is already an important issue.”

Daniel Chiasson, president of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management (CAPDM), said that no members would participate because their first priority ensures a safe and stable supply of drugs to Canada.

“It surprised everyone when their names appear on the list,” said Chiasson.

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Mary Mayhew, secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, said he was “thrilled and excited” about the announcement Wednesday.

“We are optimistic that Canadian suppliers will be interested because the rules are understood because there is more dialogue around this new federal action and historic,” he said.

Chiasson said agreements between manufacturers and distributors to prevent the export of products made for the Canadian market, creating commercial risk and deterrent for export.

“This is an issue we continue to consider and commit to exploring how we might overcome the challenges and issues as we advance the proposed rules,” said a spokesman for the US Food and Drug Administration Michael Felberbaum in a statement.

 

Some of the major distributors of Canada is the US subsidiary, which is unlikely to participate in the program for a lower price because they reflect the revenue cut from the medicinal value that they provide to pharmacies in the US market is much larger.

McKesson Canada, a subsidiary of McKesson Corp. <MCK.N> referred questions to Chiasson. This organization is also a registered member of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies Canada, a lobby group opposed to the export of drugs to the United States.

AmerisourceBergen <ABC.N> said that protecting the bottom line does not matter, because imports implied that the distributor could buy cheap and sell drugs in high-cost markets.

“The reality is that the legal and contractual constraints, as well as a significant threat to the integrity of the supply chain, all standing in the way of imports, be a viable solution,” he said in a statement.

Kohl & Frisch, a large closely-held distributor, did not respond to requests for comment. Metro Inc. <MRU.TO> which has a major pharmacy chain Jean Coutu, declined to comment.

One company in Florida is not a list of distributors in the traditional sense, but it makes the self-serve kiosks that resemble pharmaceutical vending machines. They confirmed they had no role in any plan to import.

The remaining companies are members of the Association Québécoise des distributeurs en pharmacie, who took the same position as CAPDM.

“Our members have no intention to sell drugs across the border, especially given the shortage of drugs is increasing rapidly in the Québec market,” said Hugues Mousseau Director-General in a statement.

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