Bill sponsor, left, Rep. Tom Leek

State employees have been thrown into the drug importation mix.

Amid a push by Gov. Ron DeSantis to allow Canadian prescription-drug imports, the House Appropriations Committee this week approved a bill that would require the Florida Department of Management Services to offer an international prescription-drug program as a benefit to state employees.

The proposal is included in a bill (HB 5009) that would conform state law to the House’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-2020. The Senate has not included the drug-importation option in its budget bills.

The Department of Management Services oversees the health insurance program for state employees.

DeSantis has made a priority of trying to allow cheaper prescription drugs to be imported from Canada and has particularly received support from House leaders.

The House Health & Human Services Committee on Thursday voted 11-6 to approve a separate bill (HB 19) that would develop a broader drug-importation program, despite strong opposition from health-care interests, including physician and pharmacy groups.

All of the Democrats on the committee opposed the measure, which is now ready to go to the full House.

Shabbir Safdar, executive director of the non-profit Partnership for Safe Medicines, said

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