Is it safe to import my medications from another country?


With the ease of home delivery through Internet orders, it might be tempting to try to import cheaper medications from another country. However, the potential risks you take by doing so far outweigh the benefits.

Medications that are imported directly by a consumer from another country will not have been regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that even if a medication is approved for use in the United States, and the medication you receive in the mail looks exactly like what is sold through U.S. pharmacies, there are no guarantees that what you have in your hand is that medication. Additionally, importing unapproved medications is illegal, with a few exceptions for certain diseases.

Buying medications online from another country raises the following concerns:

  • The FDA has not regulated the medication to be sure it is safe and effective.
  • The medication you receive may be counterfeit and ineffective or potentially harmful.
  • The medication label may not carry appropriate warnings, including side effects and drug interactions, and may not be in a language that you understand.
  • If you are ordering a medication that has not been prescribed by a physician, you may be putting yourself in danger because of the lack of appropriate guidance from a licensed medical professional.

If you are seeking the ease and convenience of ordering medication online, be sure you have a valid prescription and order from a website that is a U.S. state-licensed pharmacy. This can help protect your health and also ensure that the transaction is legal.

Continue Learning about Drug Safety

Drug Safety

Drug Safety

Prescription and OTC drugs marketed in the United States go through a review and testing process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dosage, side effects, manufacturing and safety are evaluated through this process. Familia...

rize yourself with drug warnings, drug label changes and any drug shortages, so you can protect and maintain your health.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.