The findings may be considered as some state legislators propose to allow their residents to buy prescription drugs by mail and the Internet from outside the U.S., which the U.S. drug industry opposes. Surveys show that nearly one-quarter of adult Americans who have bought something online say they have purchased a prescription drug online.
An interesting takeaway tucked in the July report is that some rogue Internet pharmacies deceptively represent themselves as located in Canada or claim that they sell drugs manufactured or approved for sale in Canada. They do this because many U.S. consumers see Canadian pharmacies and drugmakers as safe sources of prescription drugs.
The FDA has previously published warnings that overseas suppliers are selling unapproved or unsafe drugs. The agency last year warned about 350 medical practices that may have purchased unapproved versions of the cosmetic drug Botox from a pharmacy called Canada Drugs. The FDA warned that the drugs could be counterfeit or contaminated and hadn't been approved by the FDA.
Last month, Maine passed a law that allows state residents to buy prescription drugs by mail from four other countries, including Canada, to provide access to lower-cost medications.
“For whatever reason, drug companies are selling the same drugs through other countries for less than they do here, and the issue is too important for people to pay more for life-saving medicines,” Troy Jackson, the Maine state senator who introduced the bill, told the Pharmalot blog. “I'm a big proponent of 'Buy America,' but we're talking about people's health. If drugs are 40 percent higher in the U.S., well, I just can't stomach that. This is one way to rectify the problem.”
Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee