After nearly 20 years of personal importation of prescription drugs it’s rational to ask a few questions; what are the results? Has the practice discredited itself? Is there any evidence that the practice is dangerous? Are people being helped or hurt? These are important questions. The personal importation of prescription drugs was not an industry created by Canada or any other country or any particular person, it was created by big pharma.
International pharmacies like Canada Drugs largely didn’t exist 20 years ago. There was no need for them because US drug prices were reasonable and affordable. However the lure of big profits turned big pharma from focusing on patients to focusing on patents and big pay days. It was sudden, unexplained, arbitrary price hikes that created the international pharmacy market. Of course big pharma didn’t like the development of international pharmacies so they used their power and money to put roadblocks in our way.
Big pharma has prevented the FDA, or some other agency, from working to certify international pharmacies for US customers. It fell to the international pharmacy industry to come up with certification systems that provide a high degree of safety and certainty for patients. In this the industry has been extremely successful. An independent group called CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association) certifies Canadian international pharmacies. They have a 100% safety record for pharmacies certified by them (Canada Drugs is one of them). PharmacyChecker.com is an independent US-based certification group that inspects and certifies online pharmacies within and outside the US (Canada Drugs is a certified pharmacy by PharmacyChecker.com too).
Done properly personal importation is not dangerous at all. As long as people are ordering their medications through properly licensed & certified pharmacies which require prescriptions for prescription drugs there are no issues with quality or safety. The problem comes in when people seek drugs they should not have like illegal narcotics, or when people want a drug that their doctor won’t prescribe to them, like Viagra, Cialis, steroids, or painkillers. People will look to shady parts of the internet where they can buy these products without a prescription. Websites selling without proper oversight, certifications and licenses are likely to sell fake, substandard or adulterated drugs. In this case it is extremely unsafe.
Academic research demonstrates the safety of certified online pharmacies. Extensive work done by Roger Bate, of the American Enterprise Institute, shows the safety of legitimate online pharmacies. His research shows that credentialed domestic and foreign online pharmacies in general sell high quality products. People are not being hurt by personal importation, they are being helped. They are receiving high quality, safe prescription drugs so long as they order their products from credentialed and licensed sites.
If people were being hurt on a continuous basis by personal importation there would be uproars and the international pharmacy industry wouldn’t last very long. No one would buy from international pharmacies if all they did was sell adulterated, unsafe products. It’s simple market economics. On the contrary millions of Americans have found price relief by ordering from online pharmacies.
Despite having 20 years to do so, the pharmaceutical industry has failed to prove there is a substantial threat from certified, licensed international pharmacies. There is a paucity of evidence on their side. Now they will go and point to the opioid epidemic and the flood of fentanyl coming into the US from China and blame the international pharmacy industry for that. First it’s important to remember that the opioid epidemic has been determined to have started by the poor prescribing practices by thousands of physicians all over the US, and the successful marketing tactics of pharmaceutical companies. Fentanyl is indeed flowing into the US to feed the opioid epidemic, however, it isn’t beings supplied by licensed, certified pharmacies, it is being supplied by labs operating in legal grey areas or plainly on the black market. Legitimate, certified, and licensed pharmacies do not sell fentanyl or any opioid or controlled drug.
Personal importation has permitted millions of Americans to afford their prescription drugs. It is due to the existence of this industry that people do not have to choose between food, rent, clothes or medications. Big pharma has failed to prove any major threat to Americans from it. Instead they and their allies have taken to smearing every online pharmacy with the same brush; calling all of them potentially rogues.