Prescription medications have been a lifeline to good health for many people in the United States. Drug manufacturers have developed many new medications that help to improve health and quality of life for millions of Americans. However, high prices have made it difficult to continue taking these medications. The state of Maine took a bold step forward recently by permitting its citizens to legally import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.
Why U.S. Drugs Are So Expensive
The fundamental problem is the cost of prescription drugs in the United States. These medications often cost 80 percent more than the same medications found in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France. Even Canada has a department of their healthcare system that strictly negotiates prices with American drug companies for better prices than are found here in the states. The high prices often cause consumers to skip or reduce dosages, which can lead to serious health outcomes. Medications have become so important to the maintenance of health that finding ways to keep drugs affordable have become a major concern for many consumers.
Buying Lower Cost Drugs
Many employers and institutions made it possible for their workers to import prescription drugs at lower prices by making special deals with Canadian pharmacies in past years. However, drug manufacturers banded together to pressure legislators to enact laws to make this type of contracting for cheaper pharmaceuticals against the law. They made the argument that foreign pharmacies were more apt to provide unsafe or fake medications for these patients. However, people living near the Canadian border have been traveling across the border and purchasing their medications in Canada for years with good results.
Problems of Buying Drugs From Other Countries
Though buying drugs from Canada has become commonplace in some areas of the country, it is still officially illegal. However, most individual purchases of medications for a 90-day period were overlooked. Though the U.S. government has been disinclined to spend its resources on tracking and prosecuting these cases, the laws still discourage many people from ordering the drugs they need at the lower cost. In addition, not all pharmacies across the border are legitimate. People may find that their prescription doesn’t work and may learn that the medication they purchased is an ineffective knockoff drug sold for a quick profit. This can be a highly dangerous situation for people who depend on their medications for a variety of different medical conditions.
Researching Foreign Pharmacies
People who import prescription drugs need to do a bit of research to ensure that the pharmacists are qualified and the drugs they dispense are legitimate. Consumers should only use online and mail-order pharmacies that have been properly accredited and licensed by appropriate third party organizations. They should only fill prescriptions that are written by licensed physicians. They should also have licensed pharmacists available for questions you might have regarding your medications. You may be able to get a reference for a pharmacy from a friend or family member that has experience with a particular pharmacy.
State Takes Aggressive Action to Help Consumers
When the Maine legislature passed legislation to allow their citizens to purchase medications from foreign pharmacies, they made it clear that their residents’ health was more important than drug company interests. Residents of the state will now be allowed to legally order the lower cost medications they need. However, the responsibility to find reputable foreign pharmacies now shifts to individuals. Services such eDrugSearch.com can offer assistance in finding safe and affordable alternatives for their prescription medications. They list only reputable pharmacies that comply with Canada’s professional requirements. Using this type of service can help to save consumers up to 80 percent for commonly prescribed medications.106