FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Ordering Medications Abroad And Online

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Mar 8, 2016
2016

The United States pays the highest prices in the world for prescription medications, and the majority of Americans (72 percent) believe these costs are unreasonable. According to the International Federation of Health Plans, Americans pay two to six times more than the rest of the world for brand-name prescription drugs. Specialty and cancer drugs tend to be the most expensive, but commonly used medications also carry sky-high prices.

With the globalization of the drug industry, 40 percent of generic and brand-name prescription drugs consumed in the United States are manufactured in other countries. Eighty percent of the active ingredients in medications consumed in the United States also come from abroad. Many millions of Americans already order prescription medications abroad. Expatriates utilize overseas health care providers and pharmacies without hesitation. Americans who travel widely are confident in the safety of purchasing medications abroad.

In 2013, Maine became the first state in the nation to pass legislation allowing its citizens to buy mail order drugs from certain foreign countries, including Canada. However, in 2015 Maine’s U.S. District Court overturned the law, stating the federal government has jurisdiction over importation.

According to PhRMA, a U.S. pharmaceutical trade group, high prices reflect the research, development and time it costs to bring a drug to market. In Germany, however, nonprofit health care insurers bargain directly with pharmaceutical companies and health providers to get the best price. Countries such as Canada and England also negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. These countries and groups exert greater purchasing power since they buy in bulk at lower costs. This is not the case in the United States; Medicare does not negotiate costs with drug companies. Drug review boards could lower costs if we had them in place.

Currently, American law prohibits large groups and health care systems from negotiating prices with drug companies. The Veterans Health Administration, the largest closed health care system in the country, does fix drug prices to keep costs down so they can care for all their patients; however, the VHA also maintains a single national formulary physicians must follow, often restricting which drugs are available to patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration objects to the purchase of medications abroad that have not received its approval, believing many drugs sold in developing countries contain impure or toxic ingredients, applying the same precautions for purchasing prescription medications over the Internet or when traveling in a foreign country. The agency warns buying drugs from non-U.S.-based websites can be risky since these drugs have not met FDA standards for safety and effectiveness. It is also difficult to know whether you are dealing with a reputable website.

Reputable U.S. online pharmacies receive a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites seal of approval from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The seal indicates the online pharmacy complies with state licensing and inspection requirements. The FDA believes we should be wary of U.S. or foreign websites not approved by the NABP since they may sell questionable products, may not be licensed and may not protect the personal information you share.

For some time, many Americans looked to Canada for purchasing less expensive prescription drugs. But according to the FDA, some drugs entering the country from Canada actually originate in other countries. Canada has its own federal agency similar to the FDA responsible for regulating drugs within Canada, but there is no guarantee it regulates drugs exported to the United States. This means some Canadian medications may be foreign counterfeits or may not meet U.S. or Canadian safety standards.

Globalization of the pharmaceutical industry presents regulatory challenges for the FDA. The clinical trials of all medical products required for FDA approval are increasingly conducted abroad, adding complexity to the drug review process. Since consumer products come from many locations around the world, the FDA has gone global, opening new posts in key locations such as China, India, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. These new areas help the FDA build strong relationships with officials overseas and observe firsthand how foreign-based facilities operate.

There are many legitimate online pharmacies. Others are not licensed in the United States or abroad, and some aren’t pharmacies at all. When buying prescriptions online, save your time and money and be selective about which sites you use.

Buy safe medications

  • Consult your doctor.
  • Use a licensed pharmacy.
  • Insist on access to a registered pharmacist.
  • Read the privacy and security policies.
  • Be alert for counterfeits and report problems to the FDA.
  • Do not use a website that bypasses prescriptions.
  • Steer clear of sites that don’t provide a street address and phone number.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jun 25, 2021

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa Debuts Halona Kai Beer Garden

Recently renovated Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa launched its Halona Kai Beer Garden pop-up series, bringing Maui brews to meet Maui views and celebrate the summer season. Sip a cold Maui beer or seltzer while taking in the breathtaking views of the island. The beer garden will be offered three times a week, 5–9 p.m.

Sports Industry Awards returns to Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah for 8th Edition

The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.

Mexico
Jun 24, 2021

Just for Laughs and Pollen Presents Bring Comedy to Cancún

Love to laugh and travel? Join Just For Laughs in Cancún presented by Pollen Presents Nov. 3–7. This festival event brings together the relaxing accommodations of a 5-star resort and laugh-out-loud funny comedy sets for a long, unforgettable escape.

eFlyer Reviews
Jun 23, 2021

Hoffman Haus Review

A handful of historic towns in Texas Hill Country reinvented themselves as upscale food, wine and culture destinations. Fredericksburg is the shining star among them, transcending its historic German underpinnings to the point where it’s drawing a more cosmopolitan group of visitors, including many from outside Texas.

SPIA 2021 Winners Crowned at Gala Ceremony at W Hotel, Palm Jumeirah

The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.

eFlyer News
Jun 23, 2021

Lufthansa, Viking Cruises Partner to Offer Customers Direct Flights to Malta

In an exclusive partnership, Lufthansa Group teams with Viking Cruises to offer the cruise line’s travelers direct, non-stop flights from the New York City area to Malta (MLA), beginning June 30. Flights will operate three times weekly on Lufthansa’s Airbus A350-900, departing from Newark Liberty International Airport.

Mexico
Jun 23, 2021

Karisma Hotels and Margaritaville Debut St. Somewhere Brand

Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Margaritaville announced the launch of a new resort brand, St. Somewhere. The brand will embody the carefree escapism of the Margaritaville brand, with a luxury twist. Slated to debut in fall 2021, the property will be located on Isla Holbox, Mexico, with other locations to open subsequently.

Daily
Jun 22, 2021

6 Reasons to Put Panama City, Panama, on Your Travel List

As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.