Banner Health Services  

Getting prescription drugs in Mexico

 

Misty Vo is a pharmacist at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.

Question: I have heard of people going to Mexico or on the Internet to purchase prescription medications. Is this safe?

Answer: Here are some of things to consider about purchasing medications from Mexico or through the Internet. It has been much publicized that when purchasing such products, there can be significant savings. This is only true for trade name, non-generic medications. Generic medications may be even less expensive when purchased in the U.S. When you elect to purchase medications outside the normal system, you assume the responsibility (or risk) to positively identify the product, and you are assuming to treat yourself without the advice of your pharmacist.

Also, many people have elected to continue to buy products for chronic care without seeing their physician on a regular basis, thereby assuming all responsibility for proper use and monitoring. I would discourage this practice as patients with diabetes, asthma, hypertension, high cholesterol, seizure disorders, and others need regular checkups by their physician and the involvement of a pharmacist to assist in proper use and monitoring of the medication therapy. Of special concern is the growing number of counterfeit medications that are finding their way into not only the internet but even in our own U.S. drug supply. The “bad guys” have found a relatively easy way to make a lot of money creating look alike knock-offs of highly desired, expensive medications. When you purchase products outside the U.S., or through the internet, you are at risk of getting such counterfeit products. A recent discovery of fake Mevacor was found to be only talc and yellow road paint. This infiltration of counterfeit products was detailed in a recent book “Dangerous Doses” by Catherine Eban.

My advice is to have an open discussion with your physician about your medication costs, and include your pharmacist. Don’t gamble on safe products through the internet or purchasing out of the country. Your good health is too valuable. 

Reviewed November 2010

Page Last Modified: 11/22/2010
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