Quick Q: Is it legal for my mother to buy Vioxx online from a Canadian supplier?

Never paid much attention to the “ins and outs” of the whole “Mexican fatburner” debate, but suddenly it’s relevant, as my sister wants our mother to order Vioxx from canadapharmacy.com. There’s no particular reason Sis picked this particular website, other than the fact that it popped up during a Google search.


So, is this “legal”? Or is it “inadvisable”? Or “slightly shady”, and likely to come back and bite you later?

My mom is a born ‘n’ raised Southern Baptist and wouldn’t dream of purchasing something that was in the least bit shady, no matter how much she may want to save money on arthritis meds.

I heard a blurb on this on the radio recently (either on NPR or the local newstalk station, I can’t remember which) - technically illegal, but people are doing it in droves, it’s going to be hard to catch, and it is unlikely that the government wants to be seen prosecuting senior citizens on fixed incomes trying to save some money on their prescriptions.

In fact, here’s an ABC news blurb on it, saying that it’s technically illegal, but the FDA isn’t prosecuting:


IANAL but I expect it is legal to buy anything online, but perhaps it is illegal to import it to the US. It is a problem for the US Customs Department which I expect have a difficult time with online ordering from Canada.
:slight_smile: :smiley:

Okay, thanks, guys. The ABC story is talking about a website where you have to get a Canadian doctor to validate your American prescription, but my sister’s talking about a website where you just “phone in” your order and they ship it out.

Canadapharmacy.com apparently just takes your word for it that you have a prescription, somewhere, for the drugs you’re ordering. The “authorization form”:


So, it looks like the answer to my question is, “No.” If the FDA says that this is illegal (from the ABC report)…

…then I doubt whether canadapharmacy.com is legal.


Manny recently closed my thread on this very topic, saying that the Board cannot tolerate Q’s that pertain to illegal conduct. I told him via e-mail that NBC Evening News about three weeks ago profiled Canadameds.com and said that tens of thousands of American seniors are purchasing their meds from this company–and that the U.S. government is looking the other way, knowing their collective political clout. I also provided him links essentially proving this latter point.

I think you need to re-check whether Canadameds.com requires the actual prescription. I’m thinking yes. They are a huge company, unlike the fly by nights that have proliferated in recent years. Call their 800 number and check into it, Duck.

Regardless, you should be able to get a sizeable discount and it’s not like you’re trafficking heroin. If granny needs her meds, what’s the big deal in getting them from Canada? U.S. Customs has bigger fish to fry that nabbing rickety octogenarians.

(Consider checking with the AARP.)

Er, well, thanks, TS, :slight_smile: but I’m actually not looking for “rationalizations to convince me that it’s okay to buy Vioxx in Canada”–I’m actually leaning the other way, towards, “This is a bad, possibly illegal idea, and I’m looking for cites to prove it to my sister.”

I have an Agenda, yes indeedy. :slight_smile:

On Canadameds’ Order Form, it says:

Under Option B, for “New Patient ordering prescription drugs”, it says:

Okay, so apparently they’re serious about requiring an actual American prescription–and this is what the FDA says is “illegal, but they’re not prosecuting seniors”. So how much more illegal would canadapharmacy.com be, where they just take your word for it that you’ve got a prescription for it, somewhere?

What happens if they suddenly decide to start prosecuting seniors? “Hey, it’s Mom, on 20/20!” Egad. :eek:

Found this, while Googling “shipments elderly jail customs”.


So, looks like I answered my own question. Thanks for the pointers, guys. :slight_smile:

The fact–or supposition–that ordering meds from Canada is illegal does not necessarily make it a “bad” thing.

Before anyone condemns the practice under discussion, let’s admit that, um, some observers believe the federal government has an incestuous relationship with the nation’s pharmaceutical conglomerates. Witness the PAC’s, the major arm twisting/lobbying/junketing. So why should the fact that indigent seniors in need of life-sustaining medications have turned to Canada bother anyone? Again, it’s not like they’re engaged in a hedonistic enterprise. We’re talking life and death.

If the government won’t lead on this issue–and instead back seats the health and safety needs of the American people over fat conglomerate profit margins–then millions of Americans say that our representatives should get the hell out of the way and let people vote on this issue with their VISA cards. Trusting bought-and-paid for politicians to do the right thing is naive.

BTW, it’s also against the law to speed in an automobile or to violate parking restrictions. Who can claim internal consistency on every point, on every law?

(This has been a rhetorical advertisement. Thank you.)

If I remember the show accurately, what they said was it was illegal to import any kind of drug into the US, but they encouraging people to be careful (because of quality controls).

I have read there is more counterfeit Viagra out there than the real stuff and I suppose it is possibly true for other expensive drugs. Now, if you buy drugs in Mexico you get the guarantee of the Mexican FDA and if you have any problem you can go and sue in the Mexican courts. I can’t wait to hear the first rant about someone who was swindled in Mexico. You might save a buck but it comes with some risk.

I was reading a story about Germans and other Europeans travelling to Hungary to get cheaper dental care. Well, yes, it’s cheaper but is it the same? If everything goes well you saved a buck but what if something goes wrong? Same thing with people travelling to third world countries to get lyposuctions…


You’ve obviously never met my parents…

DDG Dad’s voice: “Oops, I was speeding–I was going 31 in a 30 mph zone…”
DDG Mom’s voice: “…there’s a parking space…oh, wait, it’s HANDICAPPED, keep going…”


Tech TV covered the online pharmacy issue in a episode of Cyber Crime. The website for that is here.

hope this helps.

Clark Howard, a nationally-syndicated “consumer advocate,” says it’s perfectly legal. Look in the FAQ’s on his site; it’s gotta be in there somewhere. He talks about this on his program at least three times per week.

Ah, to clarify. From the linked, reprinted Boston Globe article, above:

So yes, Clark Howard is right. It is “perfectly legal”…

…to buy them yourself, in person, “in Canada”. “In” Canada.

It is illegal, however, to buy Canadian drugs online, over the Internet, in the U.S.