Medications Bought Online

Is Buying Prescribed Drugs Online Legal?

In the developed world, more and more people are leaving important prescriptions unfilled for lack of funds. This is if they could even afford a doctor’s visit to get one at all.

It is a true and worsening problem. One that an increasing number of people are finding a solution for online.

This informative article will answer the questions of what measures these people are taking, why they are taking them, and the legality of their efforts.

It will also provide context specific to a couple of the countries where online prescription purchases are most commonly made and answer some basic legal questions for a few others.

If you would like to skip to information pertaining to your specific country, see our table of contents.

Why Do People Purchase Online Prescriptions?

There a number of reasons consumers are beginning to flock to the internet to purchase their prescription medication.

Convenience

One reason is simple convenience. If there is anything that the online world is excellent for, it is bringing more ease to one’s life.

There is a strong appeal for many — especially those with physically limiting disabilities — to be able to have the medications they need, delivered directly to their door without the need for travel to their doctor or to the pharmacist.

Sensitive Symptoms

A notable number of patient turn to their computers to solve their needs for the sake of discretion.

For instance, erectile dysfunction is also becoming more common in men in many developed countries. By purchasing drugs such as viagra online, they can avoid uncomfortable conversations and examinations by their doctor as well as with the men and women manning their local pharmacies.

Others would like to avoid certain drugs making their way into their medical history. Being known to have certain illnesses could lead to expensive and unfortunate results with one’s employer or insurance provider.

Still more find that there is no approved or effective treatment for the diseases that they are fighting in their countries. As such, their only hope of finding medication to fight these diseases is to buy drugs from overseas, sometimes at their doctor’s advice.

Lower Costs

Savings When Buying Drugs OnlineOf course, the most obvious reason that people purchase their scripts online is that they can find a lower price online than they would find in their local pharmacy. Often the price is drastically lower if they go overseas.

Sometimes, through clinical drug trials, strong evidence will be found that a particular substance is effective towards treating a symptom it was not originally intended to treat. However, it takes quite some time for that drug to be officially approved to treat that symptom.

Therefore, insurance companies will never pay any portion of the cost of acquiring that drug, even with a script from a licensed doctor. These companies often only cover specific medications from specific pharmacies, anyway.

This makes the prices at home exorbitant and unfeasible, driving people to look elsewhere.

Many people will find that the costs of the drugs themselves are cheaper through ordering online. Some also factor savings from time and travel, but especially the costs of doctors visits. These can add up in the common case that another visit is necessary for every refill.

People also use the internet to buy expensive drugs meant for their pets.

Is It Legal To Buy Prescription Drugs Online?

Yes, it is.

Also, no it is not. Sometimes.

Let us explain.

When Buying Online Is Legal

There is absolutely a realm within which buying prescription drugs online is fully legal and endorsed within each of the major countries.

It is not uncommon that one can find a local pharmacy that sells medication online. There are certain requirements that must be met on your end and requirements for the business you are buying from for the transaction to be legal:

(These are general findings and you should locate the information for your specific country for the most accurate details)

The most important factor is that you have an actual prescription, given by a doctor that you met in person.

Some sites will ask you to fill out a questionnaire for the doctor to review before prescribing you the drug you need (read, the drug you requested). This does not fulfill the requirements of the law and is illegal.

The pharmacy must also be licensed with the most local province they are located in. If you have difficulty finding the pharmacy’s location, then it may be an offshore pharmacy, which is subject to separate laws.

Most countries also require that you be able to reach a pharmacist to answer your questions by phone. It is strongly suggested you place a call to be sure an actual pharmacist exists before placing an order.

Lastly, for most countries, the pharmacy must be located within the country for you to legally purchase prescription drugs from them. A notable exception is Australia.

When Buying Online Is Not Legal

When Buying Online Is IllegalIf the guidelines in the previous section are not met, chances are high that it is illegal in your country.

If the pharmacy is off-shore, this will usually render any purchase from them illegal. However, there are exceptions and some wriggle room to this. (See the next section for details)

There are actually far more illegitimate pharmacies on the internet than there are legally practicing ones. This makes it extremely important to vet your chosen store before purchasing and using medication from them.

Governmental regulation on the importation of drugs (receiving them from another country) is often due to the fact that the government cannot monitor the quality or the source of the drugs.

People who have bought from the wrong pharmacies have received drugs from foreign crime syndicates that were ineffective, contaminated, or entirely different than what they’d ordered in the first place. It is important to restate that you should purchase medicines from a trustworthy source.

The Gray Area

The majority of the time, it could be said that buying drugs from offshore online pharmacies is illegal.

Yet and still, many millions of people consistently purchase their prescriptions drugs online every year. It’s not often (almost never) that you hear of someone being prosecuted for it either.

Why is this?

It’s due to some legal ambiguity, as well as differences between law and policy.

It is often illegal for people to order prescription drugs from foreign countries. However, the intention of the majority of the various governments is to focus on punishing manufacturers and distributors attempting to make a profit this way.

Criminal charges are nearly never brought on the consumer bringing in the medication for personal use.

While the letter of the laws forbids most citizens from bringing in generic and branded drugs, the spirit behind them tends to be far more lenient. So much so that in the US, a number of states have passed legislation making it legal for consumers to purchase prescription drugs from foreign pharmacies.

Something that the states are doing themselves in an effort to cut down on healthcare costs.

There is also the matter of whether or not a drug is a controlled substance.A controlled substance typically would be a drug with addictive qualities like painkillers, tranquilizers and the like. These medicines are often not supposed to be in one’s possession without a prescription.

However, there are plenty of prescription drugs that are not controlled substances such as blood thinners, blood pressure pills, statins and the like. Many of these may only require a prescription to increase the profit margin on these drugs or to enable better marketing by the company.

With drugs such as these, it can be illegal to purchase them. However, it is by no means illegal to possess them when holding an amount designated for personal use.

Since it is hard to prove that a person purchased something, and simply possessing it is not a crime, even were governing bodies to change their tune and start charging consumers, they would find it very difficult to do so.

And moreover, each country has its own restrictions and its own guidelines into what circumstances they’re officially inclined to allow the importation of pharmaceuticals.

Let’s explore the specifics of some countries.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In The US

Buying Meds Online in the USPurchasing medication from online pharmacies is quickly becoming very popular in the US as the cost of medical care skyrockets.

These are the FDA’s Guidelines for ensuring purchase from a domestic pharmacy is legitimate:

  • You must have a prescription given to you by a doctor that you’ve seen and been examined by, face to face.
  • It must be located in the United States
  • It’s licensed by the state board of pharmacy of the state it operates within.
  • It must have a pharmacist available to answer your questions, and you must be able to contact that person with your questions.
  • You are allowed a 3 month supply for personal use

For further guidelines, examine the FDA’s site. (https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048396.htm)

Buying From Offshore Pharmacies

The number of Americans purchasing medicine from offshore pharmacies is also increasing.

As much as 40 million Americans may have been forced to go without their medications due to an inability to afford the payment this past year.(1)

In 2013, 5 million had chosen to purchase their medicine from foreign pharmacies.

For many, despite the legality of the issue, they stand between the choice of joining the 40 million and the choice of joining the 5 million.

One American named ‘Bill’ certainly stood in such a position, though he did not quite understand it at the time. (2)

Bill’s eyes were slowly being destroyed. Or rather, his remaining good eye was slowly being taken by macular degeneration.

81 years of age, the statistician (retired) had heard of a drug that may help save his eye. One that was usually used to treat patients with multiple sclerosis.

If you recall, we had previously mentioned that insurance companies will not cover the cost of a drug when it has not yet been federally approved for the treatment of the disease you want to use it for.

The retiree learned this when he was told he would have to pay as much as  $11,000 a year to save his eye.

When he told his ophthalmologist this, they suggested he find an online Canadian pharmacy that would sell him the Copaxone. Which he did, finding pharmacies that would sell him the medicine (after verifying his script) for about ¼ of what he’d have paid domestically.

Bill had no idea he’d been breaking the law until he was more than three years into it.

He stumbled into the 5 million, joining many other Americans who were otherwise law-abiding.

Here are the FDA’s guidelines on what to look out for:

Signs of an unsafe website

  • It sends you drugs of an unknown quality or origin.
  • It gives you the wrong drug or another dangerous product for your illness.
  • It doesn’t provide a way to contact the website by phone.
  • It offers prices that are dramatically lower than the competition.
  • It may offer to sell prescription drugs without a prescription—this is against the law.
  • It may not protect your personal information.

LegitScript: Verify the legitimacy of a domestic internet pharmacy at legitscript.com.

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy: Visit the VIPPS internet pharmacy certification program at www.nabp.net/programs/accreditation/vipps/.

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy: Verify US licensing of a pharmacy www.nabp.net/boards-of-pharmacy.

US Food and Drug Administration: Verify if a drug is approved and whether or not it needs a prescription. Check www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/ and www.fda.gov/ Drugs/InformationOnDrugs/ucm135821.htm.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online in Canada

Buying Medications Online in CanadaCanada is actually very similar to the United States when it comes to the context surrounding their prescriptions. Concerning the legislature, the conditions are nearly identical between the two nations.

Here are some guidelines provided by Health Canada:

Don’t take any prescription medication unless it has been prescribed for you by a licensed doctor that has given you an in-person examination.

Be sure to inform your doctor and pharmacist of each of the health products you take. This includes vitamins, natural health products, over-the-counter drugs, and prescriptions.

Be wary of a website that:

  • doesn’t offer a street address, a contact number and a way to get in touch with a pharmacist;
  • will sell you prescription medication without a script from your doctor, or offers to use an online questionnaire as a replacement for a medical examination;
  • claims to offer ‘miracle cures’; or
  • offers drugs that don’t have a DIN issues by Health Canada

Be sure they are a Canadian-based site for a pharmacy with a physical presence that meets the regulations for your territory/province.

Last, call the toll-free hotline ( 1-800-267-9675 ) to contact Health Canada with any questions or complaints about medication purchased online.

Buying From Offshore Pharmacies

Despite many Americans preferring to purchase their medications from their northern neighbor, high costs are actually one of the ways in which they are similar.

Canada does have the universal healthcare that the United States lacks. However, unlike the vast majority of other countries with universal healthcare, it does not operate with a single national formulary.

In other words, the other countries buy their medication as a single entity. Canada does not do this.

Because of this, while prices are often better than the United State’s entirely unregulated pricing structure, they can still end up paying high costs for their medications.

In specific, they have the second highest medication costs in the world, and 1 out of 10 Canadians go with scripts unfilled due to a lack of funds.

Madonna Broderick was one of them.(3)

She was living with a number of chronic health issues including diabetes, COPD, and Fibromyalgia.

Receiving disability payments from the government, the cost of the medication she needed to stay healthy came out of her grocery money.

Stories like hers are not particularly rare.

If any part of your story is similar and you wish to turn to foreign online pharmacies to acquire the medicine you need, remember to do your research and use due caution.

According to the statutes(4), a Canadian is allowed to import:

Either a single course of treatment or a 3 month supply based on the directions for use. You should go with whichever is less. The health product must not contain a substance listed in Schedule F of the Food and Drug Regulations.

The drug must be for your own personal use, the use of someone you are responsible for or for use on an animal you’re responsible for.

The products must be packaged in one of the following:

  • Hospital or pharmacy dispensed packaging;
  • Original retail packaging; or
  • have the original label attached, clearly indicating what the product is and what’s in it.

Resources To Research Pharmacy Laws:

Canadian Pharmacists Association: Provincial authorities
www.pharmacists.ca/index.cfm/pharmacy-in-canada/directory-ofpharmacy-organizations/provincial-regulatory-authorities1/ (scroll to appropriate college of pharmacy, and then follow that website’s links to either a pharmacy directory or searchable database).

Health Canada: Is the medication approved? Do you need a script? webprod5.hc-sc.gc.ca/dpd-bdpp/index-eng.jsp.

Online Pharmacy Laws

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Australia

Buying Medications Online In AustraliaAre online pharmacies permitted?

Yes, online pharmacies are permitted. They have restrictions stated below.

Does the pharmacy have to have a physical location in Australia?

Yes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) says that the pharmacy’s site you are buying from should have an Australian address and phone number.

www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/buying-medicines-and-medical-devices-over-internet.

Australia also allows for personal importation of medication in limited quantities, so long as you have a valid prescription issued by an Australian doctor.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Australia?

Yes. Australia has a “personal importation scheme” that allows a three month supply for personal use. The person is required to have a prescription from an Australian-registered medical practitioner.

Can customers fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

“Definitely not,” is the answer to this question, if the prescriber is not a medical practitioner licensed in Australia.

“Probably not,” is the answer even if they are licensed in Australia. www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/buyingmedicines-and-medical-devices-over-internet.

Furthermore, states such as Victoria, for example, specify that issuing a prescription “for persons who are not under his/her care, e.g., a person who has not consulted the medical practitioner and whose therapeutic need and/or identity cannot be confirmed,” is illegal.

docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/Things-medical-practitioners-need-to-know–keyprescribing-requirements.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA):
    General information about buying medicine online www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/buying-medicines-and-medical-devices-overinternet.Australia’s personal importation schemewww.tga.gov.au/personal-importation-scheme#.UqJAs2RDt5W.
  • Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods Database:
    Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription? http://search-au.funnelback.com/s/search.html?collection=tga-artg

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In The UK

Buying Medications Online In UKAre online pharmacies permitted?

If they are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), they are. They have a searchable pharmacy register here: www.pharmacyregulation.org/registers/pharmacy.

Does the pharmacy have to have a physical location in the UK?

The GPhC will only register pharmacies that have a physical location in Great Britain.

Does the pharmacy have to be licensed in the UK?

All pharmacies must be licensed by the GPhC. The GPhC only approves Internet pharmacies after verification that the request has come from the operator of a registered brick-and-mortar pharmacy.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in the UK?

Almost never, and when it does happen, it happens with specific MHRA permission. Also, “reasons of cost, convenience or institutional need are not acceptable” to the MHRA.

Can customers fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

It is sometimes allowed. Online consultations, via an online form, are permitted in the UK. Authorization to ship medicine to customers outside of the UK does not come attached to this ability.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC): See if a pharmacy is licensed www.pharmacyregulation.org/registers/pharmacy.
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):
    Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription? www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Medicines/Licensingofmedicines/Legalstatusandreclassification/ Listsofsubstances/

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Brazil

Are online pharmacies permitted?

They are, with the listed restrictions.

Does the pharmacy need a physical location in Brazil?

Yes. Only licensed Brazilian pharmacies with physical locations may sell prescription drugs online. The pharmacy has to be open to the public and manned by a pharmacist during all hours of operation.

Does the pharmacy have to be licensed in Brazil?

It does.

ANVISA has a database of licensed online pharmacies: portal.anvisa.gov.br/wps/content/Anvisa+Portal/Anvisa/Servicos/Consulta+a+Banco +de+Dados/Autorizacao+de+Funcionamento+de+Farmacias+e+Drogarias.

The pharmacy must post its ANVISA permit number on its website.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Brazil?

There are heavy restrictions. Personal importation is legal if you have a valid prescription and limit your quantities and frequency.

Can customers just fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

Doctors can’t consult, diagnose, or prescribe from a distance.. www.portalmedico.org.br/resolucoes/CFM/2011/1974_2011.htm.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA): Look for a Pharmacy’s License
    portal.anvisa.gov.br/wps/content/Anvisa+Portal/Anvisa/Servicos/Consulta+a +Banco+de+Dados/Autorizacao+de+Funcionamento+de+Farmacias+e +Drogarias.
  • Is the drug approved? Is a prescription required
    portal.anvisa.gov.br/wps/content/Anvisa+Portal/Anvisa/Inicio/Medicamentos/ Assunto+de+Interesse/Bulas+e+Rotulos+de+medicamentos/Como+acessar +o+Bulario+Eletronico+-+Cidadao+-+Profissionais.The leaflet (“Bula do Paciente”) says whether or not a prescription is required (“VENDA SOB PRESCRIÇÃO MÉDICA”).
  • Brazil’s Internet Pharmacy Law (RDC 44/2009):
    anvisa.gov.br/divulga/noticias/ 2009/pdf/180809_rdc_44.pdf

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In China

Buy Medications Online In ChinaAre online pharmacies permitted?

The online sale of prescription medication is prohibited in China.

However, legislation has been proposed that could change this: www.sda.gov.cn/WS01/CL0783/100534.html

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in China?

It is not feasible.

Importation of drugs must go through a rigorous approval and regulatory process. Any medicine imported without permission is treated as counterfeit under the Drug Administration Law.

Can customers just fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

Patients have to be physically examined to purchase prescription medication. The Ministry of Health Order No. 66 on Internet Healthcare Information Services states that “online diagnosing and treatment activities are not permitted” (“不得从事网上诊断和治疗活动”). See www.gov.cn/flfg/2009-06/23/content_1347818.htm (Chapter III).

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA):
    The prohibition of online sales:
    www.sfda.gov.cn/WS01/CL0060/9432.html (Article 21).
  • Is the drug approved?, Does it require a prescription? app1.sfda.gov.cn/datasearch/face3/dir.html.Approved OTC drug Internet pharmacies: www.sda.gov.cn/WS01/ CL0205/51152.html

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In France

Are online pharmacies permitted?

The online sale of prescription medication is currently forbidden.. See www.sante.gouv.fr/dispensation-des-medicaments-par-internet-questionsreponses,13562.html.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in France?

No. It is illegal.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Ministère des Affaires sociales et de la Santé: General info about the online sale of medicine:
    www.sante.gouv.fr/dispensation-desmedicaments-par-internet-questions-reponses,13562.html.
  • ANSM (l’Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé) Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription?
    http://agence-prd.ansm.sante.fr/php/ecodex/index.php.“Liste I” and “Liste II” will require a prescription. When applicable, this label will appear in the product description.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Germany

Buy Medications Online In GermanyAre online pharmacies permitted?

Online pharmacies are permitted. Each much be approved or certified by Deutsches Institut für Medizinische Dokumentation und Information (DIMDI). Also known as the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information.

Does the pharmacy need a physical location in Germany?

It is possible to avoid having one, but there are strict limits to this exception.

If you’re a German citizen, you can order medicine from a small list of foreign countries. The pharmacy of choice must have a shipping permit in adherence to German law. www.dimdi.de/static/de/amg/faq/var/faq_0005.html.

They also need to be certified with DIMDI.

www.dimdi.de/static/de/amg/var/index.htm.

Does the pharmacy have to be licensed in Germany?

They have to be registered with DIMDI.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Germany?

Only pharmacies from selected countries that are in adherence with the guidelines above can legally ship prescription drugs into Germany.

As of now, German citizens can order from some of the mail-order pharmacies in Iceland, the UK,  the Netherlands (has to be a physical store), and Sweden.

Can customers just fill out a form instead of seeing the doctor in person?

German Medical Association: ‘Telemedicine’ isn’t meant to serve as a replacement for a physical examination.

www.bundesaerztekammer.de/page.asp?his=0.2.23.8260.8265.8432.8433.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Deutsches Institut für Medizinische Dokumentation und Information (DIMDI) Approved pharmacies:
    versandapotheken.dimdi.de/pdfs/var-name.pdf.
  • Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM:  Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription?  www.pharmnet-bund.de/dynamic/de/am-info-system/index.html.This is a second database. It’s not from the government, so it should be used with some caution, but it is much easier to navigate: pkv.ifap.de/Default.aspx.If it needs a prescription, it will be labeled as follows: “Rezeptpflichtiges Präparat.”

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Ireland

Are online pharmacies permitted?

No. It’s illegal to sell prescription drugs in Ireland.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Ireland?

No. Offshore pharmacies are prohibited.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority and the officials in customs actively work with one another to prevent mail-order medication from growing. Prescription drugs coming into Ireland are illegal.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Italy

Buying Medications Online In ItalyAre Internet pharmacies permitted?

No.It’s illegal to sell prescription medication over the internet in Italy.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Italy?

No. Any prescription drugs coming into Italy from the outside are illegal.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (AIFA)

Information on the laws concerning online pharmacies: www.agenziafarmaco.gov.it/allegati/ppri_italy_final.pdf (Section 2.1.3.3.3).

An article with a summary of the effects of European directive 2011/62, stating that only medications that do not need a prescription can legally be sold online in Italy.

www.agenziafarmaco.gov.it/it/content/recepimento-della-direttiva-201162ue-laregolamentazione-della-vendita-online-di-medicinali-.

Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription? See farmaci.agenziafarmaco.gov.it.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Japan

Are Online pharmacies permitted?

The online advertising or sale of prescription drugs are prohibited in Japan.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Japan?

There are limitations but it’s possible.

Japanese citizens are allowed to bring in up to one month’s supply of their medication. Pharmacies aren’t allowed to advertise drugs that aren’t approved in Japan, making the constraints here somewhat tight.

However, the medication that is imported in person does not necessarily need to be approved.

www.mhlw.go.jp/kinkyu/diet/tuuchi/0828-4.html.

Can customers just fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

Online pharmacies are illegal. Therefore, there can neither be a sale by form nor by prescription.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare — Japan’s Pharmaceutical Affairs Law: law.e-gov.go.jp/htmldata/S35/S35HO145.html.You can find recent revisions of the legislature here: www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/iyakuhin/ippanyou/131218-1.html.
  • Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Agency (PMDA) —Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription?
    www.info.pmda.go.jp/psearch/html/ menu_tenpu_base.html.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online in Korea

Buying Medications Online In KoreaAre online pharmacies permitted?

Online pharmacies are illegal in Korea. The Pharmaceutical Affairs Act states that “no pharmacy founder or drug distributor shall sell drugs at a place, other than his/her physical pharmacy or shop.”

See www.law.go.kr/법령/약사법 (Article 50, paragraph 1).

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Korea?

Yes, though not in the usual manner. Both citizens and visitors are allowed to bring in 6 bottles, or 3 month’s quantity, into the country as long as they have a prescription or other suitable documentation.

With online sales being illegal, this would only be feasible in situations not involving the internet. Like, perhaps, with letters.

Can customers just fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

Article 17 of the Medical Service Act prohibits doctors from writing prescriptions to patients that they don’t see “face-to-face.” www.law.go.kr/법령/의료법.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS)Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription?
    Search by name: drug.mfds.go.kr/html/search.jsp?collection=kifda.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In The Netherlands

Are Online pharmacies permitted?

Online pharmacies are permitted, but they are subject to the restrictions outlined below.

Does the pharmacy have to have a physical location in the Netherlands?

This is indirectly necessary, yes. Anyone who is sending prescription drugs to patients in the Netherlands needs to be licensed and their business needs a license to sell and store the medicine.

Can offshore pharmacies ship drugs to patients in the Netherlands?

If the pharmacy is located outside of the EU it will require an import permit to send medication into the country.

www.belastingdienst.nl/bibliotheek/handboeken/html/boeken/HVGEM/geneesmiddelen-het_vergunningenstelsel.html.

Can customers just fill out a form instead of seeing a doctor in person?

An in-person exam is required. According to Article 67 of the Dutch Medicines Law, “It is prohibited for anyone to prescribe drugs via the Internet to a person that the prescriber has never met in person, or doesn’t know, or doesn’t have the medication history available from.”

wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0021505/;

www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/geneesmiddelen/vraag-en-antwoord/mag-een-artsvia-internet-medicijnen-voorschrijven.html.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ): A List of Approved pharmacies
    www.igz.nl/ onderwerpen/curatieve-gezondheidszorg/apotheken/apotheekregister/.
  • College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen / Medicines Evaluation Board —Is the drug approved? Does it require a script? www.cbg-meb.nl/CBG/en/human-medicines/geneesmiddeleninformatiebank/default.htm

Buying Prescription Drugs Online in Russia

Buying Medications Online In RussiaAre online pharmacies permitted?

The distribution of medicine by mail is strictly prohibited by the Russian government. Therefore, online pharmacies aren’t a Russian reality.

Can offshore pharmacies ship drugs to patients in the Russian Federation?

Any drugs coming into the country from outside sources would be considered illegal.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Russian Laws Regarding the Remote Sale of Goods —
    http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_136274/
    ecology.gpntb.ru/usefullinks/oficialdoc/zakonrf/zakons_ukaz/zakons_256/.
  • Russian Ministry of Health — Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription? grls.rosminzdrav.ru/grls.aspx.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Spain

Are Online pharmacies permitted?

They are not. Prescription medication cannot be legally sold over the internet in Spain.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Spain?

The shipment of prescription medication to Spaniards within the country is firmly illegal.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios (AEMPS)

Information about the online sales of prescription drugs: www.aemps.gob.es/en/publicaciones/publica/regulacion_med-PS/docs/folleto-regulacion_Med-PS.pdf (page 19).

Is the drug approved? Does it need a prescription? www.aemps.gob.es/cima/fichasTecnicas.do?metodo=detalleForm.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Thailand

Are online pharmacies permitted?

While not explicitly forbidden, Thailand’s laws require that prescription drugs are sold only in a physical pharmacy and by a licensed Thai pharmacist. This clearly prevents online pharmacies from taking shape.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Thailand?

Thailand has a strict hold on the legal importation of drugs and it is largely done by medical practitioners on behalf of their patient, rather than a patient taking matters into their own hands.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Thai FDA: Thai Drug Law requiring medication to be delivered by a licensed Thai pharmacist within a physical pharmacy. www.moph.go.th/ops/oic/data/20131007141753_1_.pdf (Sections 14 and 21)Is the drug approved? Does it need a prescription? fdaolap.fda.moph.go.th/logistics/drgdrug/DSerch.asp.

Buying Prescription Drugs Online In Turkey

Buying Medications Online In TurkeyAre Internet pharmacies permitted?

Turkey forbids the sale of pharmaceuticals through online means. www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2014/04/20140412-14.htm, Article 43.

Can offshore pharmacies ship prescription drugs to patients in Turkey?

Personal drug importation is only extremely rarely allowed, such as when a member of the military is under clear doctor’s orders to do so.

Resources to Research Pharmacy Laws

  • Turkish Pharmacist, Pharmacy and Drug Law:  www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/ 2014/04/20140412-14.htm.
  • Turkish Ministry of Health: Is the drug approved? Does it require a prescription? www.titck.gov.tr/DisplayDynamicModule.aspx?mId=a/0Tp/ ovYIU=

For prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, and some medical nutrition products, view itsportal.saglik.gov.tr/index.php?run=qrcode&w=0&mp=72,69.

References:
(1)http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publications/issue-brief/2017/feb/pdf_collins_biennial_survey_2016_exhibits.pdf

(2)https://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/23/patients-cross-borders-for-online-deals-on-medications.html

(3)http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/this-is-why-canada-has-the-second-highest-medication-costs-in-the-world

(4)https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/compliance-enforcement/importation-exportation/policy-health-products-under-food-drugs-act-regulations-0060.html#a52

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