It's absolutely, unequivocally, without question illegal to reimport into the U. prescription drugs that have been exported to other countries, or to bring in substances that are banned under U. law, for any reason, except when you've got a prescription and the FDA or customs agents say it's OK, or decide to look the other way. Because Canada and most other industrialized nations impose price restrictions and limit what pharmacies can charge for drugs, the cost of a brand-name medication sold in Toronto can be as much as 55% less than what the identical drug is sold for just across Lake Ontario in Rochester, N. While the practice of reimporting drugs from Canada, Mexico, or other countries is still technically illegal (with the possible exceptions noted below), it is increasingly becoming a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance. A similar measure, known as the Dorgan-Snowe Drug Importation bill, is currently before the Senate. Customs service is to enforce Federal laws and regulations as they pertain to imported substances such as drugs. Current law says that if Granny decides she can get her heart medications more cheaply in Alberta than in Alabama, she could be busted for either bringing it over the border or having it delivered to her. The old adage that "those who love the law and sausages should never watch either one being made" certainly applies to drug policy. Burdened by skyrocketing health care costs, consumers, employers, and insurers are looking for ways to save, and one of the most obvious targets is drug costs. House of Representatives has passed three versions of bills that would allow consumers to import legal drugs for personal use. Department of Homeland Security are necessarily to blame for the confusion. In the meantime, the mission of the FDA, as always, is to promote and protect the health of Americans. Does that mean that dear Granny is likely to do a stretch in solitary? citizens by distributors of the drug in question, the product can't be considered to "represent an unreasonable risk," and the patient doing the importing has to be ready to affirm in writing that the drug is for his/her own use. Hardly, experts say, because nobody wants to be seen putting the cuffs on elderly pensioners. Here's how the FDA puts it in a consumer advisory on its web site: "Don't purchase from foreign web sites at this time because generally it will be illegal to import the drugs bought from these sites, the risks are greater, and there is very little the U. government can do if you get ripped off." And there's the rub: the words "generally" and "at this time." Under current law, stated in an FDA "guidance" paper titled "Coverage of Personal Importations," the importation or interstate shipment of unapproved new drugs is prohibited. The patient also has to be willing to furnish contact details for a physician in the U. Also, they'd have to arrest the governments of the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Vermont, as well as many city governments and private employers who have turned north for lower-cost prescription drugs. The definition of "unapproved" includes "foreign-made versions of U. approved drugs that have not received FDA approval to demonstrate they meet the federal requirements for safety and effectiveness. To make things even more confusing, the FDA guidance cites "circumstances in which FDA may consider exercising enforcement discretion and refrain from taking legal action against illegally imported drugs." These extenuating circumstances include importing an unapproved drug for a serious condition for which there may be no effective treatment available in the U. S., or provide "evidence that the product is for the continuation of a treatment begun in a foreign country." To hedge its bets, the FDA cautions that "even if all of the factors noted in the guidance are present, the drugs remain illegal and the FDA may decide that such drugs should be refused entry or seized. It is the importer's obligation to demonstrate to the FDA that any drugs offered for importation have been approved by FDA." Under those rules, it appears to be illegal to import into the U. the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor purchased in Canada, even though the drug is made in Ireland for shipment to both the U. The guidance represents the FDA's current thinking regarding the issues of personal importation and is intended only to provide operating guidance for FDA personnel. Like your local pharmacy, Canada Pharmacy Online requires a valid prescription written by a licensed physician, in order for us to dispense your prescription medications. All prescription medications are clearly marked by . 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