Many patrons of online pharmacies are having trouble purchasing medication from cheap, international online pharmacies using credit cards. Despite the fact that international drugs are 60 to 70 percent less expensive than drugs from the United States, Mastercard and Visa have formed an alliance with the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) to stop the operation of “unsafe online pharmacies.” Unfortunately for some patrons, CSIP’s definition of unsafe includes any online pharmacies that operate outside the U.S. This means that international pharmacy customers will have to find alternative payment methods or find other sources for medications.
Online pharmacies supply prescription drugs at much cheaper rates than traditional pharmacies, due to operating from only one central location, as opposed to a network of physical pharmacies. This can be a huge savings to some consumers who take a lot of medications, or take expensive medications. But lately, the FDA has warned consumers of illegitimate online pharmacies, many of which operate outside of the U.S.
Some international pharmacies swindle customers out of their money and medications by sending non-U.S. versions of drugs, incorrect dosages, the wrong drugs altogether, incorrectly labelled products, and even placebos. Unfortunately, there’s not too much that the FDA can do about online pharmacies operating outside the country. So the FDA recommends using U.S. and Canadian online pharmacies that can be verified by authorities.
Advocates for the free use of international online pharmacies argue that outlawing their use will hurt patients that can’t afford the same medications at higher U.S. rates. Plus Canadian and other international pharmacies sell the same drugs as the U.S. that aren’t FDA approved, but are never the less tested extensively (some arguably more than U.S. drugs). So why should these drugs be restricted?
Even though international customers will continue to have trouble paying with credit cards, they can still pay by check to get needed medications. Unfortunately this means longer processing times and delayed shipments. International patients must remember this when planning their next orders.
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