As we close out 2017, personal drug importation via online pharmacies remains a viable lifeline for American patients who can’t afford prices at their local pharmacies. Recent FDA actions against pharmacy storefront offices in Florida, ones that help Americans buy more affordable meds internationally, are troubling. On a positive note, a backlash against that crackdown by members of Congress, including Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chuck Grassley (R-IW), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has begun and will certainly grow. But what’s most on my mind is the FDA’s vocabulary about drug importation and how people tend to confuse certain terms.
In its efforts against personal drug importation, the FDA tells the public that it’s protecting them from misbranded and unapproved drugs. Those designations sound scary and who would want such drugs? Well, Americans would. The fact is, whatever the FDA wants to call them, if medications are lawfully-produced under Good Manufacturing Practices, properly dispensed by a licensed professional and shipped by mail order, Americans are interested.
Oh, and these drugs are a hell of a lot cheaper.
Despite the clear advantages, these medications deemed to be misbranded or unapproved under U.S. law can be refused import by the FDA even if they are equally as safe and effective or the exact same as the medications sold in the U.S.
CNN.com recently aired a video entitled Phony meds flooding U.S, which addressed a variety of dangers related to buying prescription drugs in Mexico, on the streets of Los Angeles, from unauthorized sources and from certain online pharmacies. While warning consumers about the dangers of bad medicine and fraudulent practices is good, the CNN piece, unfortunately, may confuse consumers about what the real threats are. With 120 million American consumers struggling to afford their medication, many are understandably looking for alternatives to the prohibitive costs of brand name drugs in the U.S. We believe our Consumer Guide, which does not recommend Mexican pharmacies, gives the best information on how to save money safely on your prescriptions, a summary of which you can find here.
Whether traveling to Mexico or ordering from international online pharmacies, Americans deserve to be properly informed and this CNN piece highlights how the message to consumers is often misleading, unclear and inaccurate.
The segment begins at a border crossing between Tijuana and southern California. CNN reports, “Everyday Americans flock across the border to buy deeply discounted prescription drugs”. Several Americans interviewed in the piece say they can get cheaper medications at Mexican pharmacies, at 50% off or more, and that it works for them. (more…)