In order to provide the best possible service, we recommend that patients obtain their medication from pharmacies licensed in the Unites States. Why? Because we want everyone to have the best chance at success!
Consider this: The Smith’s have a limited budget but desperately want to get pregnant, so after years of trying, they begin to look into the costly In Vitro Fertilization process, or IVF. Soon, they hear from a friend that they can get a similar version of the IVF medications they need to take from overseas at half the price. What the Smiths didn’t know is that the medications they got overseas ended up being counterfeit, which is why they were cheaper than the U.S. medications they thought were too expensive.
Because the medications were counterfeit, their IVF was unsuccessful and they wasted all of the money they spent having In Vitro Fertilization performed and are no closer to having a baby.
The Smith’s have fallen victim to the same promise many across the nation have who do not understand the cost of US health care in relation compared to the rest of the world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) counterfeit medicine is “deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source.” WHO explains that counterfeit drugs may include the correct ingredients, but they may no longer be active or they have an insufficient amount.
With some country’s health officials estimating that over 70% of their drugs in circulation are either fake or adulterated, it is easy to see the importance of following the US Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines when filling a prescription.
For a drug to pass the FDA’s approval, hours of research and examinations must occur, ensuring that the proper dosage can be administered to the proper patient down the road. This process itself can add to the excess cost many in the United States feel that they are paying, but it also ensures that you drug will meet the modern standards for safety, effectiveness, quality, and labeling.
This does not mean that all overseas drugs are going to harm you, but for the drug to be approved by the FDA, it must go through the same rigorous process as drugs developed in the United States. The FDA reports that drug companies seeking approval to sell a drug in the US must go through the same testing process and then send the data to FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) for evaluation.
Finally, a team of CDER physicians, statisticians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other scientists reviews the company’s data noting that “If this review establishes that a drug’s health benefits outweigh its known risks, the drug is approved for sale.”
So, yes, the price of pharmaceuticals in the United States can make the overseas alternative appear affordably attractive, but at what cost?
To find out if your drug has been approved by FDA, use Drugs@FDA, a catalog of FDA-approved drug products, as well as drug labeling. Drugs@FDA contains most of the drug products approved since 1939.