1. Health

How to Buy Drugs from Foreign Pharmacies

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Updated June 27, 2014

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Introduction - How to Buy Drugs from Foreign Pharmacies
Pharmacist preparing prescription pills
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Americans often wonder whether it's legal to purchase their prescription drugs from a pharmacy in another country, usually Canada or Mexico, and bring them back to the United States.

Their reasoning is simple: There may be real benefits in purchasing drugs outside the United States. For example:

  • The costs of brand-name drugs in many other countries may be substantially less than they are in the U.S.
     
  • Some drugs are available in other countries but not in the U.S.
     
  • Some drugs that require a prescription in the U.S. do not require a prescription in other countries, even Canada and Mexico.

However, there are laws that prohibit "personal importation;" that is, Americans purchasing drugs from Canadian, Mexican or other pharmacies and bringing them into the United States. Many Americans still choose to take the risks such a purchase may create.

Here is what you need to know about buying your prescription drugs from foreign countries.

Next: Understanding Personal Importation and Reimportation

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