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With the rising health costs in the United States, more and more patients and health care facilities have considered taking matters into their own hands and importing prescription drugs from another country into the United States. What many patients and health care facilities fail to realize is this practice is not only unsafe, but it is also illegal. Many prescription drugs manufactured in Canada, China, and other countries within the world are counterfeit, expired, or made from ingredients that can be harmful to one's health. Many of these foreign drugs also can be fatal to those that consume them. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act prohibits the importation of any prescription or non-prescription drug from all foreign countries that do not meet strict criteria.
Drug Importation and the FDA
Although some prescription and non-prescription drugs meet the criteria and are approved by the United States government, most are not. In order to be categorized an approved drug, it must be:
- Tested by the FDA
- Undergo clinical trials
- Prove to be an effective treatment for conditions in the United States where an alternative treatment is not available
There are some exceptions to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in terms of imported drugs. Prescription drugs may be imported into the Untied States if the individual verifies that the drug is for his or her own use, if no alternative treatment is available in the United States, and if there is no commercialization of the drug to U.S. citizens.
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