Money Talks News: Are overseas pharmacies unsafe and illegal?

Money Talks News - If you or someone you know takes a brand-name medication on a regular basis, you likely know how expensive it can be. A question you may ask yourself is if you should try overseas pharmacies.

The high price of prescription drugs can be a bitter pill to swallow. In a recent survey of CVS pharmacists, 62 percent said cost is the biggest reason some patients may not fill prescriptions or take the proper amounts.

That high price could cause for huge temptation to buy prescriptions outside the United States in other countries. However, is that safe and legal?

Dr. Todd Cooperman, owner of PharmacyChecker, helps match people with low-cost drugs from all over the world.

"Outside the U.S. they sell the same medications that are sold here but at 80 to 90 percent lower cost," Dr. Cooperman said.

His website also helps people learn which pharmacies can be trusted.

"What PharmacyChecker does is vet these pharmacies," Dr. Cooperman explained. "We are continually checking the credentials of these pharmacies to make sure they are licensed in the countries where they exist and we have a full-time pharmacist who is actually inspecting many of these pharmacies."

According to Dr. Cooperman, there are safe international pharmacies, since people who live in other countries are able to receive appropriate medicine.

The price of those medications are also a factor to consider, too.

Here are examples supplied by PharmacyChecker: A three month supply of 20 milligram Xarelto can be $1,480 in the U.S. and as low as $149 outside the country. Three Symbicort Inhalers can be nearly $1,200 domestically and $60 internationally. Both of these examples are savings of at least 90 percent.

The big question, however, is whether or not it is legal to purchase prescription drugs overseas. Technically it is not, however is the FDA going to bust people for this?

"FDA is not aware of any actions taken against an individual resulting from their purchase of small quantities of unapproved drugs for personal use," the FDA responded when asked.

Therefore, using international pharmacies is not a recommendation and you should never take a risk with your health.

However, if you would like to learn more about PharmacyChecker, visit MoneyTalksNews and search for "drugs."

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