Prescription drugs can be expensive, especially for low-income seniors without drug coverage. But those who buy drugs over the Internet from Canada are taking a real and unnecessary risk with their health.
Americans think it?s just as safe to buy drugs from Canada as from their neighborhood pharmacist. But the Canadian government says it is not responsible for drugs that come into Canada for export. And imports into Canada are increasing from countries with a history of counterfeit and unsafe drug production, including China, South Africa, Turkey, and even Bangladesh. Many of these drugs wind up in the mailboxes of American citizens.
A series of on-site checks by the Food and Drug Administration of imported drugs showed that 88% did not meet FDA?s standards. Packages often contained dangerous, unapproved, or counterfeit drugs.
Canadians and Europeans have virtually destroyed their pharmaceutical research sector by imposing price controls on drugs, demanding prices that don?t allow companies to recoup their research investment. The United States is the medicine chest for the world; if we follow the route of importing price controls, miracles cures for cancer, Parkinson?s, and diabetes will continue to elude us.
Seniors do have options: They can save 25% or more on their medicines by joining a new Medicare drug discount card program (www.medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE).
In addition, low-income seniors can get $600 this year and next to help with their drug purchases, with added savings from private drug companies. Studies show seniors can save up to 95% on their drug bills by participating in this new program.
These American-based options, together with private pharmaceutical company discount programs, are much safer than taking the risk of importing drugs that could be ineffective or even dangerous.