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Article: A Warning About Online and Foreign Pharmacies

A Warning About Online and Foreign Pharmacies

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  1. A Warning About Online and Foreign Pharmacies

A Warning About Online and Foreign Pharmacies
By the GWAAR Legal Services Team

It is no secret that medications are expensive, and prices for prescription drugs can change from year to year.  Understandably, everyone wants to find the best deal for necessary medications. In an effort to find the lowest costs for medications, people often turn to online pharmacies or pharmacies from countries outside of the U.S.

Many people don’t know that it is still illegal to purchase prescription medications from a foreign country and import them into the U.S. This law applies even if the medications are for personal use, and even for U.S.-based online pharmacies. If the drugs are imported from a foreign country, it is illegal to bring them in.  For example, the online site PharmacyChecker.com uses what are called “verified pharmacies,” but that does not mean “legal pharmacies” under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules.

The FDA has discretion when it comes to penalizing people for purchasing foreign drugs, and it has been known to turn a blind eye when a drug is used for a serious condition for which effective treatment is not available in the United States and/or a person has imported less than a 3-month supply of the drug.

However, that does not make the practice legal under federal law. According to the FDA, reimporting medicines from outside the United States is dangerous because of the possibility that medications are counterfeit, mislabeled or otherwise unsafe. There is recent legislation to relax these laws to allow people to import foreign medications for personal use, but there are no direct laws in effect allowing such practices at this time.

So, even if you know someone who says it’s OK to order these drugs or you yourself have done so in the past without penalty, you must still be aware that the practice is illegal.

For more information, visit the FDA’s website at   https://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm194904.htm


                                     GWAAR Copyright,  12/2018  



Last Updated on 4/29/2020