You are not allowed to import medications for personal use. It’s illegal. But if you do it and have a prescription for it then the FDA are likely to ignore it and its OK. Slightly confusing isn’t it?! so what exactly is the deal with personal importation?
There’s a fine line than can be drawn when talking about prescription medication and personal importation. It’s hard to know what the law actually is and how the drugs policies will affect you if you cross them. Up until now the FDA imply that you are allowed to import medication for personal use and at a maximum of 3 months’ supply. Well you’re not officially allowed, but they won’t do anything about it if you do.
Countries like Canada and Israel have strict Ministry of Health policies and they sell drugs at restricted prices. This means that the cost of prescription medications is a fraction of what it is in the US. The FDA and Department of Homeland Security know this and while they cannot be seen to encourage online ordering from abroad, they prefer this option to be available for those who cannot afford to buy their medications inside the US. After all, the FDA are committed to promoting and protecting the lives of those who live in the USA. It’s their job and why they exist in the first place.
Economic times are tough but people still have health issues and still need to buy medication. What’s better for the USA – to strictly enforce this out-of-date, half-enforced law and force many people into not filling crucial scripts (which, by the way, ends up with more serious illness, possible hospitalization and costs the state and insurance companies more money down the line) OR to turn a blind-eye and let people import their prescription drugs from reputable online pharmacies at cheaper prices?
These days, the law is breached more often than it is observed and steps are in place in numerous states to pass a bill that will legally allow for the personal importation of drugs. Basically, the law is out-of-date and everyone knows it. At the end of 2013 a new legislation was submitted to the House of Representatives called the “Personal Drug Importation Fairness Act” of 2013”. If passed, it will officially allow the personal importation of drugs from abroad.
Online pharmacies that sell branded and approved drugs should not suffer from this old law. These drug policies were introduced at a time when medications and online pharmacies were less common and less regulated. At the time, online pharmacies consisted mainly of illegal set-ups and unregulated drugs. Buying cheap generics without prescriptions from third world countries is one thing but filling a prescription medication online with a real online pharmacy from a country that has strict medical and healthcare regulations (like Israel and Canada) can cause no harm. All it does is allow people to pay reasonable prices for drugs that they need.
There’s a great article on WebMD about personal importation. The heading for it is “It’s illegal (nudge, nudge) to buy prescriptions drugs (wink, wink) from other countries.” The author of the article, Neil Osterweil, describes the drugs policy as a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” which basically sums up the whole issue. If you are concerned about the risks involved in the personal importation of drugs then please read it for more information, here’s the link.
If you are worried about buying drugs online then here is a guide to Ordering Online Medication, to ensure that you get what you need for a place that you can trust.