Maine Passed Legislature

26 06 2013

Recently, the state of Maine in the US passed new legislature that allows its residents the ability to order their prescription pharmaceuticals from international pharmacies.

I believe their intent was good, but the outcome may not be so pretty. Going outside of the US there are dangers. There are dangers buying inside the US as well. The main danger, that I am concerned with along with others are counterfeit pharmaceuticals.  I’ve wrote about horror stories in the US dealing with people who are buying non-FDA approved drugs and medical devices and giving those to patients and I’ve written about people in the US counterfeiting medicines and selling them. So yes, it does happen here, but it is a greater risk going outside the US to get prescriptions filled.

Shabbir Sardar, Partnership for Safe Medicines, says that the US has the most secure supply chain of medicines in the world. Every part involved with the making of the medicine is regulated in some way in the US. That same security will be threatened from international mail-order pharmacies. “If you go outside the U.S. to a country like the UK, which people think, ‘Oh, the UK is safe,’ in one incidence, they found more than a million fake needles for diabetics out there,” Safdar says. “Now that’s a lot of needles. And they didn’t actually get them all off the market. And so if that’s the kind of problems they have in a country that we think of as safe as the UK, then we don’t want that here.” To keep yourself safe from the fakes in the US is to maintain the hand-to-hand supply chain from people you know.

Consumers are trying to find the cheapest medicines to help cure or help their ailments. I’d start by looking here, at home in the US, consumers can often find less expensive generic forms of a drug in the U.S. market. It’s safer, but if you opt for looking online please use pharmacychecker.com or something like that to verify the website. And for low-income residents, community health centers offer drug discount programs. The final decision as to whether Mainers will be able to buy drugs from international pharmacies is now in the hands of Gov. Paul LePage, who could either sign or veto the measure. LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett says the governor has not yet made a decision.

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