Authored by Douglas Mefford in Medicine
Published on 06-10-2009
With the already high cost of prescription drugs in America going higher all the time, consumers who must obtain the necessary prescriptions in order to live are always on the lookout for ways to save money on their medications. Pharmaceutical companies, as a general rule, will price control their product from country to country based on the specific economy that is found there. This makes the same medications often cost much less in a neighboring foreign country than they can be obtained for in the United States. There are a couple of ways the overcharged US consumer has been using to take advantage of this arbitrary pricing method.
For those who live near Canada and Mexico, a quick trip over the border for the legally allowed amount of prescription drugs for personal use can easily save hundreds of dollars. There are a few caveats required of the cross-border shopper. A three-month supply is considered the maximum allowable to be qualified as “personal use”. One would have to schedule at least four trips per year to fully utilize these savings. On most medications the Food and Drug Administration also requires that you present a qualified doctors prescription to obtain the medication legally.
The other method for seeking lower cost medications is the Internet. This is a much more risky proposition than going directly to a pharmacy regardless of the location. The major problem with filling prescriptions from US doctors in a different country is that there can be confusion with the brand names. The same or similar names can be used that denote entirely different medications. Several of the most prominent examples found include the prostate reducer “Flomax”. In Italy the drug known as “Flomax” is an anti-inflammatory agent. “Norpramin” is an anti-depression drug in the United States. The drug that carries the name “Norpramin” in Spain is used to treat stomach ulcers.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has discovered over a hundred foreign drugs that carry names so similar to American drugs that confusion, and the wrong medication, can easily happen if one does not use the actual drug name for the active ingredient. Another problem facing American tourists who need their medications filled while traveling abroad is the dosage of the foreign drugs. Not every foreign drug maker will use the same US standard dosage and the traveler may suddenly find themselves ingesting too much or too little of what they need to maintain their health.
The greatest danger to the Internet drug buyer is the presence of “counterfeit” drug production. Since US drug sales are the most profitable, most reputable manufacturers worldwide will try to keep to the US Food and Drug Administration’s Good Manufacturing Process Standards so they can sell to US customers. Medicines from such Pacific countries as Japan, Australia and Sri Lanka will have most likely been produced by the same companies as their US counterparts. Regrettably, there are many greedy manufacturers and scammers who flood the Internet with advertisements for “cheap” drugs. This is very common among sexual performance aids. These are seldom the actual medicine at all but cheaply made counterfeit capsules that have been found to contain anything from cardboard to rat droppings.
You take medicine to help keep you healthy and alive. It is a prudent choice to investigate that competent professionals, regardless of where in the world you obtain your medications, are servicing you. The life you save may well be your own.