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Old 05-11-2019, 01:46 PM
Enola Gay is offline
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Is it legal to order drugs from a "Canadian" Pharmacy?


I'm American and have crappy health insurance. I pay over $700 per month for prescription drugs & found those same drugs at online "Canadian" pharmacies (I put Canadian in quotes because it looks like some of them are actually in India).

I'm finding conflicting info online as to whether it's actually legal to order from there or not. Does anyone know the straight dope?

Related question: Is it SAFE to order these drugs from overseas?
  #2  
Old 05-11-2019, 02:34 PM
SamuelA is offline
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It is illegal but is not being enforced.

If you have a prescription, and the drug is not a scheduled controlled substance, it is highly unlikely you would face any negative consequences for this action. Occasionally, packages coming in from overseas are inspected, but most are not, and if the inspectors sees medicine inside they might seize it. You would receive a letter declaring the seizure, and many online pharmacies would ship the medicine again if you show them the letter. Generally that's when the consequences would stop.

This is because if a package with your name on it has something illegal in it, that isn't sufficient to prove you ordered it, and also in most cases the laws require possession, which you don't yet have. It is possible for the authorities to proceed further - but they probably won't because as you can imagine, it's going to be difficult to find a jury to vote to send you to jail for buying medicine at affordable prices from overseas.

It is very likely safe, especially from Canada. Even the Indian generics, assuming they are made by a licensed Indian pharmaceutical company, are likely safe. Nothing is a guarantee in life and the risk is slightly higher than U.S. generics but only slightly.

Also, again, nothing's a guarantee - you would still technically be breaking federal law by importing a prescription drug without the right permits, and while tens of millions of Americans are doing this every year, it's always possible that you would be the one they make an example out of.

While I can't advise you to break the law, a rational agent would consider the consequences if they can't get their medicine (or the increase in personal safety if they have $7200 more each year) versus the small chance they get counterfeit drugs or the 1 in a million chance they face legal consequences.
  #3  
Old 05-11-2019, 03:16 PM
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A relevant news article :

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...rce=reddit.com

Note that this isn't some ambulance chasing private law firm filing suit. This is a suit brought by 44 U.S. States. Not just liberal or conservative states, 44/50 is basically everyone. It's highly likely in such a situation that the defendants are liable. It states that the drug companies have been colluding to raise prices of 86 separate medicines.

Last edited by SamuelA; 05-11-2019 at 03:17 PM.
  #4  
Old 05-11-2019, 03:37 PM
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Some of the sites are scams. Others are very legit. The legit ones will require a physical copy of your prescription so make sure that you get that from your doctor.
  #5  
Old 05-11-2019, 04:47 PM
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Years ago, our US Senator* from Minnesota donated his salary to charter buses to take seniors across the border into Canada to purchase their medications (and have a nice day-trip of scenery). They each hauled months worth of medications with when the bus crossed the border back into Minnesota. Everybody knew about this; it was widely advertised. Technically, that was probably illegal import of these drugs -- but none of the border crossing guards ever tried to stop this convoy of chartered buses.

It was widely approved by people in the state; it got him elected as Governor the next 8 years.

* He didn't need the salary; this was Mark Dayton (Dayton-Hudson company, Target corp, B. Dalton bookstores, Marshall Fields, Mervyns, Citibank, etc.).
  #6  
Old 05-12-2019, 05:42 AM
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Legal: FDA has taken the position that the purchase of prescription drugs from outside of the United States may be illegal under federal law. The FDA maintains that reimporting into the United States prescription drugs originally manufactured in the United States is a violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and importing drugs made in other countries violates the act if the drug is not approved by the FDA or if it does not meet all FDA approval requirements. Good luck finding the exact policy on their website.

On a personal quantities level, worst case scenario ordering from a legit Canadian pharmacy where you have provided a prescription really is that your shipment doesn't get through and you may or may not get a letter from FDA or Customs.

Way back in the internet wild west days, I ordered benzos for recreational use from a "pharmacy" in Thailand. No idea if the pharmacy was legit, but the drugs were. Two shipments got through, the third one got grabbed by Customs and I got a letter saying I could come claim it if it was really mine.

Safe (as to the drugs themselves): I wouldn't worry about ordering from a legit Canadian pharmacy but I wouldn't order from anything other than that anymore.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:38 AM
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What about drugs in the US which are prescription but not in a foreign country? For instance while walking across Spain I went to a 'pharmicia' for something for leg pain, and they gave me Meloxicam which is OTC there, here that medication is it by Rx. Some of that came home with me, along with some very strong ibroprofin which in that dose is also Rx here. Not to mention that it is far cheaper there.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:14 AM
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I'll tell you what my doctor said when I asked him this question as he was writing out prescriptions so I could place an order. He said, "Do I look like a fucking lawyer to you?".
  #9  
Old 05-12-2019, 10:52 AM
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I was on a train from Vancouver to Seattle and when we crossed the border and stopped at customs, the customs agent asked the guy in the seat in front of me if he had any prescription drugs. The guy said no, but asked why the question. The answer was that it was illegal for any prescription drugs to be imported. When he asked me that question, I lied with a perfectly straight face. I take 6 different ones and the absence of at least one could have been life threatening. Incidentally, he was wrong, but he had the power.
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:07 PM
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Here is a CBC article about a "caravan" of Americans coming to Canada to buy insulin, because it costs ten times as much in the US as it does in Canada and these people couldn't afford it for their diabetic kids. They were concerned about potential issues at the border coming back to the US but apparently there weren't any. Take it for what it's worth -- it seems like a lot of this is discretionary judgment and a different border guard might have handled it differently.
  #11  
Old 05-12-2019, 11:50 PM
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Yeah, possession is 9/10's of the law, so if customs seizes your meds, then it may be fun to try getting them back. I recall when prescription orders from Canadian pharmacies was a deal in the newspapers here, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (or whatever they are called) said that a Canadian doctor needed to write the prescription. Then there followed a debate about whether there had to be an in-person consultation, etc. etc. Not sure if that still applies. I know for controlled substances (i.e. narcotics) they are very touch and track all prescriptions and dispensing, so a foreign prescription won't hack it. (I've read of several doctors reprimanded for over-prescribing the good stuff) It's a crapshoot. For a while the businesses were making a lot of money in Canada. One particular very big participant, the boss was lured to the USA to talk to a seller who had a large amount of supposed counterfeit India drugs to sell him for the business - but it turned out to be a sting and the guy is probably still in a US jail. Again, if it is a legit Canadian business then they are the same drugs as in the USA - but how you find "legit" I have no idea.

I see some American group is advertising (inside the USA, I saw it on CNN) for a service where you consult on your phone (facetime?) with an American doctor and get medicine (discretely and cheaply) mailed to your house. They mentioned among the ailments they consulted about was ED so we can see their angle. Regardless, presumably an electronic consultation is legit.
  #12  
Old 05-13-2019, 07:27 AM
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Before I was on Medicare, I ordered from Canada Drugs all the time. No problem.
  #13  
Old 05-13-2019, 11:03 PM
Enola Gay is offline
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Thanks, everyone. I just placed my first order with <deleted>. If I never post here again, just presume that the feds discovered my illicit activity and busted me and now I'm living out my golden years in The Big House

Last edited by Chronos; 05-14-2019 at 04:38 PM.
  #14  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay View Post
... and now I'm living out my golden years in The Big House
You'll be getting your drugs free there.
  #15  
Old 05-14-2019, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay View Post
Thanks, everyone. I just placed my first order with <deleted>.
I don't know if that site is legitimate, but it might not be. Having a URL like that makes me skeptical.

There are sites where people openly discuss which pharmacies they have ordered from and have experience with. The really legitimate ones may have physical stores in there home countries.

I suspect posting a link would be a violation of the rules. Note that you would be looking for a site that doesn't have a financial connection to any of the actual pharmacies. Certain subreddits used to cover things like this (some covered illegal drugs as well), but I think they were mostly cleaned out in a reddit cleanup wave.

Last edited by Chronos; 05-14-2019 at 04:38 PM.
  #16  
Old 05-14-2019, 06:33 AM
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I used Canadian pharmacies for years and years before I discovered GoodRX. OP have you looked into that? If your prescriptions can be filled generically, then it's just as cheap (and sometimes cheaper) to use GoodRx. It's the closest thing to a free lunch I've ever seen. I could shoot myself for paying $120 a month for tramadol (it's controlled, so had to buy US), when I could have spent fricking $12 with GoodRx this whole time.

If you're on a brand prescription that is still under patent, make sure it's a good deal better than the generic predecessor because pharma companies just keep creating minor variants to always have a new exclusive-rights, price-pumped drug to sell.

Lastly, a HUGE drug cost-saving tip: drug prices are almost always based on a per dose rather than a weight basis, which means that a 10mg pill and a 40mg pill of the exact same drug, manufactured by the same company, are the same price. I've even seen cases where the higher dosage was actually cheaper. Buy the higher dosages and split them into 2s or 4s. I've never not had a doctor prescribe the higher dosage when I explained my reasons (another bonus is they will often prescribe the same quantity which means you'll have to refill less often). Note that this will compromise any time released pills so I can't advise that (though Ive done it for some of mine - but I'm pretty familiar with pharmacology).

If you do decide to go Canada route, use this site to check for cheapest legit pharmacies:

<deleted>

I recall Blue Sky Drugs to consistently be among the cheapest, and have ridiculously good customer service. You'll get a human in 2 rings. If you have the option to choose manufacturers when buying, prefer any other country to India or China, though I've bought many meds from there too.

Last edited by Chronos; 05-14-2019 at 04:36 PM. Reason: Removed link
  #17  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:09 AM
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I’ve had great luck with <deleted>

Last edited by Chronos; 05-14-2019 at 04:37 PM.
  #18  
Old 05-14-2019, 04:37 PM
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[Moderating]

KidCharlemagne and hajario, it might not be enforced, but it's still illegal, and we have a policy against illegal activity on this board. Do not post links or URLs to sites selling drugs illegally.

EDIT: And that also goes for Enola Straight.

Last edited by Chronos; 05-14-2019 at 04:39 PM.
  #19  
Old 05-14-2019, 04:51 PM
Enola Gay is offline
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Got it, but I think you meant me, Enola Gay (Enola Straight is another poster)
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:08 PM
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My mom gets a steroid, similar to Prednisone, from a Canadian pharmacy. When she first started taking it, it hadn't been approved by the FDA, (although it had been approved by Canada, Mexico, the EU, Israel, Japan, and most every place else you might care about.) Buying it abroad (with a valid US prescription) was apparently legal, or in a gray area that wasn't actively illegal.

Then her doctor told her he had bad news for her. The FDA had approved it. As a result, it was no longer legal for her to import it, and instead of paying the Canadian price of about $20 for a three month supply, the price was now about $500. I no longer remember the exact numbers, but the increase was more than a factor of 20. She said she'd just gotten a shipment. He said maybe she'd be lucky, and the pharmacy she was dealing with would continue to send it.

Although her prescription sits with a Canadian pharmacy, the drugs are actually shipped directly from the Indian factory where they are made. Lots of drugs sold on the legitimate market in the first world are made in India and Pakistan, and in general, they are fine. (Ymmv, of course, but I've had a friend bring me drugs from India when I was fighting with my insurance company, because he happened to be visiting, and the full retail price of common drugs there is about the same as my after-insurance price here.)
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay View Post
Got it, but I think you meant me, Enola Gay (Enola Straight is another poster)
Must have been a Freudian Slit.
  #22  
Old 05-14-2019, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay View Post
Got it, but I think you meant me, Enola Gay (Enola Straight is another poster)
All you Enolas look alike.
  #23  
Old 05-15-2019, 12:11 AM
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Iíve bought meds from Canada - recall my doc said such and such pharmacy was reputable and he sent them the prescription. The pharmacy then contacted me for payment and mailing address, then a few days later, I had meds.

I also get flea stuff for my dog from a Canadian supplier. The absurd thing is that Iím buying Revolution that was made in the US, shipped to Australia, then shipped to me from New Zealand. Even with its trip around the world, itís still significantly cheaper than buying from a US source.

Last edited by gotpasswords; 05-15-2019 at 12:13 AM.
  #24  
Old Yesterday, 03:04 PM
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I wonder have there been any cases of people who have been arrested for it?
  #25  
Old Yesterday, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
All you Enolas look alike.
Well that joke bombed.

Also, based on my neighbourhood, if you phone a Canadian pharmacy and someone with an East Indian accent answers, that probably means it's a real Canadian pharmacy.
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