Pharmaceutical Laws Restrict for Online Vendors
There’s no doubt that online drug vendors offer an attractive enticement – a direct connection to unsanctioned, obscure and less expensive drugs. Receiving imported prescriptions by post is, in principle, unlawful, even though authorities usually ignore the practice. Purchasers may lawfully import a prescribed medicine if the drug is not an FDA “scheduled substance” – a habit-forming or narcotic drug – and if it passes a multitude of standards. Consumers are allowed to import a quarter-year dosage for private use if the goods are for a severe illness and can’t be found in the U.S., aren’t thought to be risky, and are used pursuant to a doctor’s oversight. The exceptions were not meant for importing less expensive foreign substitutes.
Despite their attraction, many patients prefer to purchase their prescriptions locally. For instance, physicians at the New York Pain Clinic have noted a high level of interest in local drug sources even though it is, by law, not allowed to have its own pharmacy. And drug store chains around the country continue to expand. For instance, several drug stores are located proximal to Mercy Partners Hospital in Knoxville, TN and are thriving. Another drag on online sales is that many older patients are not computer-savvy, and thus are less likely to purchase drugs from online vendors.
Prescription medicines from Canada, a well-liked and time-tested alternative for traveling Americans, are a popular purchase from online vendor since they are thought safe and are usually inexpensive. In Canada, a government office oversees the prices and quality of drugs. And when the U.S. currency is strong against the Canadian dollar, some drugs, such as anti-cancer medications, are cheaper still.
Of course, a happy medium is where patients order their drugs online from local sources. For instance, a patient might visit Pain Clinic in Atlanta and receive a prescription for several powerful drugs. He or she would then go on the internet and link up to their favorite national pharmacy, such as a Walgreens or Rite-Aid, to have their prescription filled. The online site would then forward the order to the store closest to the patient, have the order filled and then delivered. This can be very productive when a chain has established a reputation for value and service, and is attractive on a nationwide or regional basis. By automatically shunting the order to the appropriate store location and then offering free delivery, the chain fulfills the patient’s expectations for speed and price. Nonetheless, it appears that online vendor sites like Georgia Pain Clinic are proliferating on the Web, and as long as they compete on price, will continue to take market share from bricks-and-mortar competitors.