Online Drugs and the Law

There are a number of laws surrounding the buying and selling of drugs, both online and otherwise. Because the internet is virtually unsupervised, it is difficult to determine which websites are legitimate and which ones are not. It is important for companies and websites to abide by the laws of their state. Failing to do so can result in legal action.

Some of the important laws surrounding the buying and selling of online drugs include the following:

  • In the United States, it is illegal to important any unapproved drug into the country. There are exceptions to this law. The FDA does allow individual consumers to bring an unapproved drug into the country if it is for the purposes of personal use to treat a serious condition. This only applies if there has been no commercialization or promotion of the drug to U.S. residents.
  • In Canada, residents are allowed to import a 3-month supply of therapeutic drugs, subject to a number of restrictions.
  • It is illegal for anyone, including a foreign pharmacy, to ship prescription drugs into the United States which are not approved by the FDA. This includes circumstances where the drug may be legal to sell in that pharmacy’s country.
  • Products approved for sale in the United States must have their formulation approved by the FDA. They must also be made in a plant registered by the FDA and be produced under quality standards imposed by the FDA.
  • Prescription drugs available from a foreign pharmacy which are products that have not been approved by the FDA or products which do not comply with the FDA requirements listed above cannot be legally sold in the United States.
  • It is a violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to sell a prescription drug without a valid prescription from the patient.
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