So why do many U.S. residents purchase prescription drugs from internet pharmacies advertised as Canadian? The main reason is lower prices. U.S. residents feel very neighborly toward Canada, may travel there regularly, and may have friends and family there. It feels very safe to purchase things from Canada, and prescriptions are not different.
In almost ALL cases, Canadian online pharmacies are selling medications that are not FDA-approved or manufactured in Canada. These medications could come from manufacturing facilities throughout the world - Europe, Asia, South America. The FDA has a strong stance against buying medications from Canada online and DOES NOT condone the sale of medications to United States Customers via the internet.
The FDA does not approve the sale of medications to customers in the United States because Canadian online pharmacies are not regulated the same way U.S. pharmacies are.
Importing prescription drugs that have not received FDA approval is illegal. However, the FDA's personal use policy is to use its discretion and not necessarily take action against importation of drugs in a few very specific cases. For example, individuals with rare forms of cancer may get treatments that are available in foreign countries but which are not FDA-approved. But the following conditions must be met:
So what does that mean for the average consumer who may simply want to buy their blood pressure or erectile dysfunction medication from Canada because it's cheaper? Even if a drug with the same name is approved in the U.S., the drug will generally be considered "unapproved". In other words, it may be manufactured in another country where it would be impossible to determine that it isn't counterfeit. And unapproved status makes it illegal to import to the United States.
The dangers involved, even when purchasing from Canada, include receiving a product that is:
Then, of course, there are the legal ramifications of purchasing a non FDA-approved medication.
Every year, Americans import millions of packages of pharmaceuticals from foreign online pharmacies, and many of these pharmacies advertise themselves as Canadian, even if they are not. Buying prescription drugs from online Canadian pharmacies is almost always illegal due to the fact that these drugs' provenance cannot be definitively known, rendering the drugs non-FDA approved.
A 2007 Congressional report concluded that many U.S.-based online pharmacies are legitimate and offer convenient, safe services similar to those provided by independent and chain pharmacies in the United States. The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2007 was passed to address problems of online prescription drug trafficking. The law requires that U.S. internet pharmacies post information on their websites about their location, identity, licensure, pharmacists, and states in which they are authorized to practice. The law also assists law enforcement in investigating online pharmacies suspected of operating illegally.
When U.S. consumers want to purchase prescription drugs online, you should look for U.S. online pharmacies or facilitators that:
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