Things To Know About Buying Prescription Medication From Overseas
by Arthur Oken, Savon Global Meds
In the area of drug importation, U.S. Customs is more like the cop who lets drivers whiz by at speeds much higher than the speed limit. Customs mostly turn a blind eye toward individuals who purchase mailed prescription drugs from overseas pharmacies. In the past eight years, we have had three-four packages stopped per year by Customs.
SavOn Global Meds is a call center, based in the U.S., affiliated with a large overseas pharmacy. We send all prescriptions and personal data to their pharmacists for review. They then order the drugs made in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Turkey and the U.K.
When you get branded drugs from overseas, keep in mind that manufacturers such as: Glaxo Smith Kline, Novartis, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, etc. have to make the identical patented products wherever their plant is worldwide. Often a drug is made and marketed by more than one manufacturer. One company will make a product in the U.S. and another company is licensed to make the identical product outside of the U.S. The name of the drug can often be different outside of the U.S. than in the U.S. For example: Abbott Labs Synthroid is called Thyronorm by Abbott in Europe; GSK’s Advair is called Seretide outside of U.S., etc.
Almost every major drug manufacturer has a plant in Turkey, so they can sell lower costing brands to the European price-controlled markets and be able to make a profit. Drugs sold in the European Union (E.U.) are overseen by the European Medical Agency (EMA), which is similar to our FDA. Drugs imported into the E.U. have to undergo full analytical testing, unless a mutual recognition agreement is in place, such as with the Turkish Accreditation Agency. That is why SavOn Global Meds is very comfortable in using branded drugs made in Turkey for Europe.
Many drug manufacturers have also chosen to make their drugs in their own plants in India. The CEO of GSK said they remain in India because it offers “sensible pricing.” Did you know that approximately 40%-50% of generic prescriptions sold in U.S. pharmacies are made in India? The FDA is required to inspect foreign drug facilities on the same inspection schedule as domestic plants. The FDA has a major presence in India, doing inspections and in training the Indian Pharmaceutical Association members in quality control. SavOn Global Meds only uses Indian companies that are inspected by our FDA. We do not use banned companies or ones that have had multiple violations. We also offer specialized generic medications made in India that are approved and inspected by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is part of the United Nations.