Possible Dangers Of Using Mailorder Drugs

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Mikie, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I talked to my pharmacist about a separate matter this morning and somehow we got on the subject of the high costs of drugs. This is an older gentleman who once owned three Osco stores and sold them when Osco and Albertson's merged. I get all my prescriptions at Albertson's because their pharmacy here is so good. He said he knows the person who is in charge of buying the drugs for Albertson's and that this guy is very good at bargaining with the drug companies. He also told me that Albertson's does not buy the cheap generics. I do use generic Klonopin and it works just fine for me despite the fact that the docs usually want their patients to take the brand name. But I digress (I usually do :)

    This man told me that there may be a real problem with ordering from those cheapie mailorder pharmacy services outside the U.S. He said in China and in Italy, there are companies selling bogus drugs. The packaging looks identical to the real thing, but there is no active ingredient in them. He also said that some of the stuff being made in China is contaminated with lead which could be very harmful to anyone with kidney problems. The FDA does not allow these into the U.S., but they may be sold by the price cutting offshore pharmacies.

    Mexico has long been a place where Americans go to buy drugs cheap, many of them OTC which would require an Rx to purchase here. I was warned years ago that even though the packaging is identical to drugs sold in the U.S., you don't know what you are getting when buying drugs in Mexico.

    Just thought I would pass this info on to y'all as my pharmacist said most Americans are totally unaware of this.

    Love, Mikie
  2. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    And the first year I did it, I kept track, and found I had saved $1,200 over the local drugstores.
    Due to junkies stealing drugs out of the mail, they have just told us they will no longer fill class II scripts, so I am now going to have to pay $20 instead of $8 for my Xanax, I guess.
    The only thing I really worry about with mailorder drugs from inside the U.S., is the effect of the hot Florida weather on the drugs while they sit in the open air mail truck prior to getting to my house. Sometimes my drugs arrive very hot to the touch, and way above the recommended 86 degree limit.
    So far, nothing bad has happened to me though, and I really need the savings.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    There are mailorder pharmacies in the U.S. which are legal and fall under the FDA. Many insurance companies use them for their members. I agree about the difficulty of ensuring that meds sitting in hot metal trucks remain below the maximum temperature limit.

    There may well be honest offshore mailorder pharmacies doing business in the U.S., but I do believe that using these types of pharmacies may be risky based on what my pharmacist told me. I felt obliged to pass this info along to our members. It's buyer beware.

    Love, Mikie
  4. babyblues68

    babyblues68 New Member

    Is there a difference in different generics? I was getting my pain pills from Kroger but got my last one's from Walgreens. They were a different generic brand. I told my husband I thought there was a difference. That the ones from Walgreens didn't seem to work as fast and as strong. I still had some of the other generic meds from Kroger and they still seemed to work better. I thought this was all in my head.....Is it?

    [This Message was Edited on 04/15/2003]
  5. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    I totally agree with your thoughts on Mexican and other foreign countries's drugs, especially the ones don't require prescriptions..

    The only way that one can obtain Immunovir is thru Canada or Ireland, since not approved by FDA..So, I have to go out of country..Do you know if the Canadian system is legitimate? Would think that it would be conferable to our system..

    Many regards,
    ~AMELIA~[This Message was Edited on 04/15/2003]
  6. baby-bear

    baby-bear New Member

    Tammy, I have a problem with generics but I do think that some brands work better. I definitley notice a difference between one brand and the other. pammy
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Dear Tammy, once the patent has expired on drugs, any other company can produce a generic version. By law, the active ingriedent(s) must be identical in function to the original formula. There are different classes of generics. If you get a class A generic, it is identical to the original formula. Most reputable pharmacies only carry Class A generics. The difference you can actually see is in the size, shape, coating, and fillers in the generics. Some of the coatings and/or fillers can affect how well the medication is absorbed into the system. This may explain why one generic works better than another.

    Dear Amelia, I don't think most mailorder companies would purposly sell bogus drugs. The problems occur when there are several layers in the distribution of the drugs. By the time a mailorder company buys the drugs, they may have been through several layers and impossible to trace. There is a lot of pressure for these companies to keep their prices low, as that's their marketing niche. Since they are not under the strict FDA laws in the U.S., there is probably a much greater chance of getting bogus, and possibly tainted, drugs. Also, as competition between these companies heats up, there will be even greater pressure to keep costs down.

    I know how difficult it is for so many people, especially those living on a fixed income, to be able to buy the drugs they need. I just bought 20 tablets of Famvir and my co-pay was $50. The pharmacist told me that if I did not have insurance, the cost would have been $250. That, to me, is unbelieveable. I hope that if anyone here is using an offshore company, that they are getting real and safe meds. My guess is that most are. I just felt compelled to tell everyone about the potential danger.

    Love, Mikie
  8. Tibbiecow

    Tibbiecow New Member

    I use 2 types of suppositories when I get a "Migraine from Hell" which does not respond to the usual triptan drugs such as Zomig. I use Phenergan suppositories for nausea and Dilaudid (a potent class II narcotic) for the pain which was prescribed for me in order that I should be able to avoid a trip to the emergency room. I have used generic and name brand of both drugs. The generic Phenergan acts as a laxative, before I absorb the drug, out it goes. Obviously it is worth paying for the name brand, the carrier is different. The name brand Dilaudid also must have a different carrier, because it absorbs faster into my system and the pain relief lasts longer.
    I have a book on headache medicines that claims that a great deal of generic headache pain relievers are not nearly as effective as the name brand. So I would say that if you notice a difference, and if the price difference does not kill your budget, I would go for the name brand.Even after all of this, I don't have prescription insurance so quite a few of my prescriptions are generic and work just fine. I look at it as being similar to the grocery store brands, with a federal law thrown in-some are just as good and cheaper, some don't smell as good or whatever so you buy the name brand for more money.
  9. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    In prior comments,

    I am not putting down any foreign mail order pharmacies, but there is always a question in the air as to whether basic standards are being met..or if you are getting what is prescribed..you don't know, and that is the problem...I thought that was your premise..Sorry for agreeing with you..

    Thanks, Nink...You answered my question beyond expectations...

    Many regards,
    [This Message was Edited on 04/15/2003]
  10. beckster

    beckster New Member

    It has been shown through analysis that some Chinese and other foreign herbs are contaminated with lead and other things.

    Read a newspaper article the other day that rated the different Canadian pharmacies. If I was to use one I would probably use the one that congressman Bernie Sanders takes his constituents to when his group makes their trips to Canada to get their prescription drugs.
  11. Bellesmom

    Bellesmom New Member

    I was and have been seriously concerned about the high cost of pharmaceuticals here (we are on a low income and have to chose sometimes between food and my husband's and my meds) and so decided to try CanDrug after seeing it advertised on a local Seattle TV channel. I talked, in person, to the person handling my prescription (which had to be signed by my local doctor) and he said Canadian drug companies have to adhere to a very strict standard. I can only go by my experience but I think it is fine and I did save 60%. We take 7 meds between us a month and while my husband's doctor helps him with samples from time to time we still have to spend LOTS of money on meds each month.

    That is just my 2 cents worth.

    I used to order by mail from a company in the states when I had insurance prescription coverage and never had a problem with that, either as the company was approved by my insurance company. But, you know, nothing would surprise me because of the greed of people these days (individuals as well as corporations).

    We must be vigilant and this is a good place to tell our experiences.

  12. babyblues68

    babyblues68 New Member

    I've had the same experience with Phenergan suppositories and Dilaudid. I have chronic kidney stones. When I worked in the ER I always got the good meds. My old uroligist retired. Now my new urologist only gives out lortab for KS. Well I'm already taking that. Dilaudid is GREAT in the veins. Not to sound like a junkie but it would make my KS & FM go far far away, but we can't live like that can we? Well maybe sometimes I wish I could.

    Thank you all on your thoughts of the different generics of the same drug. Next time I get my meds filled I think I'll try the brand name. I'm blessed and have reasonable copays. My generic is 5.00 and the brand will be 35.00. If there is that much difference I can stand to change that one drug.

    My husband and I were going thru all my med refills last month figuring up our savings with insurance. My meds run about 600.00 a month. I pay 45.00 a month in copays. I don't know how people do it with out insurance. There should be a better way for those without insurance!

  13. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    ....because the customer service at the pharmacy was so horrible. I now go to the Osco right across the street & can't believe the night & day difference---they are quick & completely professional. Mikie says Albertson's keeps the quality high, so I'm hoping with the merger of the two stores, Osco has the same high quality as Albertson's....

  14. Tibbiecow

    Tibbiecow New Member

    on a limited budget go trotting right off to a website which calls itself something quite a lot like needy meds (Edited to remove URL; spelling out the URL doesn't cut it) and get busy researching what medications you can get from the makers of drug companies on patient assistance. EVEN DRUGS THAT HAVE GENERICS HAVE DRUG ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. I have insurance, but it does not pay for prescriptions. I don't qualify for state assistance because of our assets, but I do qualify for a lot of drug company programs because of my income. I'm taking Topamax and the dosage I'm on would cost $400 a month (and that's from Costco, which is about 20% cheaper than everywhere else!)and I just can't afford that, I'm sorry, and the alternative is 4 migraines a WEEK! What else can you do???? Thank God for these programs. I think the drug companies have these programs so that they can live with their conscience with how much they charge for their drugs, they feel better since they give their drugs away to people who really need them. HEY, YOU PEOPLE, YOU REALLY NEED THEM !!! Go get 'Em.