Buying Painkillers and Other Meds Out of Country?!

Updated on December 05, 2011
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
13 answers

I was having a discussion with one of the members of our boat club who has quite a few medical issues and had a lot of trouble with his insurance the past few years. He's a chronic pain sufferer and lives off a very strict financial budget (he also cares for his mother). This guy's probably 55-60. Anyway, he was saying that his insurance company stopped paying for 2 of his monthly meds, one a 30 day supply (30 total), the other (a painkiller) a 30 day supply (60, 2x a day if needed)... Well he was saying how he found SOME website and was ordering these things without a prescription through a Canada based company (but the meds are shipped from FL, I believe he said)...

IS THIS LEGAL?! I asked him and he kind of answered with a non answer, and honestly, I don't think he knows what he's getting himself into.

I really have no idea if this is legal or not, but it doesn't seem like it to me. I just worry about this guy, he's already got so much on his plate already, I don't want him getting into trouble over this.

So is this legal? Even without an RX? From out of the country??

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So What Happened?

OH YEAH, that was the other thing, I'm questioning what he's REALLY putting in his body.. honestly, this isn't the type of guy who would know any better!! :(

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

NOT legal. NOT safe.

I guess desperate people do desperate things.
Wonder why his "boat club" membership/boat costs take precedence over this health care costs?

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dover on

Nope, not legal. Prescription-strength drugs are by prescription only for a reason. Just like it's illegal to share (or take) your Rx painkillers with your husband, you can't just order them online without some bit of risk.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would worry less about it's legality, and more about the safety of the medication, however, Canadian meds have much more quality control measures in place than if it were say from China or Mexico, but the meds could still be mismarked, expired, improper doses...

PBS did a special report on this that is very interesting, though it is from 2003, so not sure what laws have passed since. Some experts claim it is legal with a lot of red tape, some claim it isn't as to the major bending of the laws of importing:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It is illegal for certain drugs without valid prescriptions. Stepping aside from the legal issues I would very worried about what he is taking and also the quality of the drugs.

Finally even if he is purchasing legally which I would consider suspect, then his records would be subject to search and seizure if the company he is buying from is ever investigated. He could be brought into investigation in this manner.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I wouldn't worry so much about if it was illegal but if it was safe. I would be too worried it wasn't the real thing and something else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I went to Mexico and a month later was thought to have caught a fungas or infection. The water was not purified like our standards.
Even in American, a drug was recalled for too much rat poop in it. GROSS!
I ordered one for Vaniqua facial hair reducer. I answered questions, an online doctor approved it, and it was mailed to me from Florida. It was legal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Not really legal, not really safe. Then again if they are killing the pain then he is getting the real thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It should be legal, but the FDA enjoys protecting a monopoly and his medications will probably be seized before they are delivered to him.
They might get through on some occasions and not on others.
Medical tourism is on the rise and although there are a few countries I would not consider buying medications from, there are others that are perfectly fine.
The FDA needs to back off it's nanny stance and let more of a free market happen when it comes to purchasing medications.
If it's a drug that may be obtained legally in this country, we should be able to buy it from anywhere.
Other countries have the guts to negotiate better prices.
If our country can not / will not get it's act together, then they at the very least need to get out of the way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I don't know if it is legal or not. He should be very careful. Think about it. He doesn't know these people or where the pills are coming from. They could very easily be sugar pills made to look like the real thing. They could be some other kind of garbage that will cause someone to drop dead after taking one of them.
I do not trust big pharma, so I would surely not trust some stranger offering cheaper pills.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, R.:

This fella sounds like he's addicted to pain med. He needs help with his
Just a thought.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Any legitimate online Canadian pharmacy will require a Rx and be a member of CIPA. Legitimate Canadian pharmacies will also not fulfill controlled substances (percocet, xanax, oxycotin, etc) even if you have a rx for it.
Technically, i do not think it is legal but as long as you ae not obtaining controlled substances, no one is going to come look for you. I have read were states like MN & ND actually suggest going to Canada for rx's.



answers from Seattle on

Up here (only a couple hours south from Canada) one of the big sellers in retirement communities is a monthly bus across the border. It's quasi-legal. Meaning it can be completely legal or completely illegal depending on how it's done.

I suspect the same is true of your friend's site. FL used to have VERY liberal laws concerning importing medications (not sure if they still do), which makes sense considering the geriatric community down there.

I'd have him run it by his attorney OR his doctor (doctors often know which sites are legit).



answers from Atlanta on

IF they're truly from Canada and not routed through Canada from China -then they're probably okay. It's all legal, but people need to be VERY careful, because many online meds from "Canada" actually come from China and Southeast Asia and are not what they're billed to be. If people are lucky they're getting placebos -if not -who knows? There have been some investigative reports on this, and it's SCARY!

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