Questions and Answers on Medicine Importation
This website claimed to be in Canada but was actually in
Crystal City, VA selling unapproved medication from overseas.
Question: What's the difference between a Canadian retail pharmacy you can drive over the border to patronize and a "Canadian online pharmacy" that sends you medicine in the mail?
Answer: A Canadian web pharmacy is probably just a shipping company that claims to be a pharmacy, that may not even really be in Canada.
Unless you drive over the border into Canada to a bricks and mortar pharmacy, when you order from an online pharmacy you're getting a company that pretends to sell non-Canadians price-controlled medications for citizens. While a physical retail pharmacy in Canada is regulated by Health Canada and the Provincial Pharmacy Board, a Canadian online pharmacy can be located in any country, and isn't going to sell you medicine meant for Canadian residents.
Question: Where do the medicines you get from a "Canadian online pharmacy" come from?
Answer: All around the world, but not from Canada.
The USFDA's seized medications show that nearly half the imported drugs intercepted from four foreign countries were labeled as "Canadian." But not only that, 85% of the medicines came from 27 countries around the globe, and tested drugs were found to be counterfeit.
In 2011, counterfeit cancer medication, Avastin, was found and tested by the FDA. The lifesaving medication used for late stage cancer patients was found to contain NO ACTIVE INGREDIENT. The company that allegedly supervised the distribution of the medication according to both the FDA and the Wall Street Journal is a so-called Canadian online pharmacy, CanadaDrugs.com. Learn more>
Question: Don't Canadian online pharmacies provide great deals because they source medicine from safe Tier One countries like Canada, Australia and England?
Answer: No. Counterfeit medicine with no active ingredients, or cheaper and inappropriate ingredients, are the way they make the big bucks while tricking you into thinking youv'e gotten a great deal.
So-called Canadian web pharmacies (that actually hold no pharmacy license) assure customers that their drug imports are only from countries designated as Tier One by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Since 2010, these have included Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa and countries in the European Union.
However, counterfeit medicine incidents have occurred in Canada, Israel, and the European Union. Incidents have also occurred in the other Tier One countries. Some incidents have occurred in more than one country, such as the counterfeit cancer medication described above that traveled through several EU countries before it arrived in the US at the behest of a so-called Canadian online pharmacy. Learn more>
Question: Can't the FDA and Health Canada protect me from danger if I buy medicines from outside the U.S.?
Says the FDA, "The FDA cannot help you if you have problems with medicine you get from outside U.S. regulation and oversight."
Additionally medicines that are shipped between countries aren't required to be inspected for authenticity. Health Canada isn't going to check to make sure the medicines you receive are authentic, neither are the governments of any other country and that is most likely where your packages are coming from anyway.
Question: Isn't the medicine I get from a "Canadian online pharmacy" just from the pile of medications that are price-fixed by the Canadian government? Aren't they authentic Canadian medicines.
Answer: No. Those medications may never have even seen a maple leaf flag.
According to the president of a Canadian online pharmacy, 70 percent of drugs sold to Americans from Canada are made elsewhere, so the drug you think you're importing from Canada probably comes from a third world country with less stringent protections than either the US or Canada. This is backed up by the USFDA's own research which found that 85% of medication that purported to be from Canada was really from some OTHER country.
Additionally, even the Canadian government is warning their people about these websites. If they don't want their people to buy medicine from so-called "Canadian online pharmacies," how can you even begin to believe those drugs are legitimate?
Want to get a summary of global counterfeit drug news emailed to you every week? Sign up for our email list!