Purchasing Drugs Outside of U.S.

Jul 20, 2007

  1. salpro22
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    salpro22 Guru

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    Does anyone have any experience, either themselves or with clients, about purchasing drugs outside of the U.S.? I seem to get conflicting evidence about the legalities of purchasing drugs outside of the U.S., as well as the health concerns. Personally, I think the FDA is in bed with pharmaceutical companies, but that is just my paranoia :)



    According to HSA Road Rules and IRS Guidelines, only drugs approved by the FDA to be transported across state lines can be paid for via HSA funds. I contacted the FDA in MD and got no response as to where I can obtain this list.


    Comments????
     
    salpro22, Jul 20, 2007
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  2. senior-advisor-indiana
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    :jiggy:
    Well, I have not personally purchased drugs outside the US but I hear Amsterdam would be the best place for marijauna. I beleieve they have just about every flavor and it is legal. I think I will make a trip there atleast one time before I die.
     
  3. salpro22
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    Let me know when you go. I have a friend in German who keeps bugging me to come over.
     
    salpro22, Jul 20, 2007
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  4. GreenSky
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    I used to get drugs from a canadian pharmacy and paid for them using my HSA. Like everything else, it's allowable unless the bastards audit.

    Now my wife's employer (Disney), in their "great" wisdom, dropped the HSA in favor of a $1,000 deductible plan at 50% higher cost. Jerks!

    Rick
     
    GreenSky, Jul 20, 2007
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  5. somarco
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    somarco GA Medicare Expert

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    NAFTA supposedly opened the doors to allowing US citizens to legal purchase drugs from anywhere in the world.

    Apparently the FDA looks at things differently.

    Last time I checked, nothing in the code allows you to pay for meds purchased outside the US and pay for them with HSA funds. Neither can you purchase outside the US and have them apply towards your major med deductible.
     
    somarco, Jul 20, 2007
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  6. CHUMPS FROM OXFORD
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  7. salpro22
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    salpro22 Guru

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    I appreciate all the information.

    Who is NAFTA? Google turned up many organizations.

    Direct from Publication 502 of the IRS

    "Medicines and Drugs From Other Countries In general, you cannot include in your medical expenses the cost of a prescribed drug brought in (or ordered shipped) from another country, because you can only include the cost of a drug that was imported legally. (You can include the cost of a prescribed drug the Food and Drug Administration announces can be legally imported by individuals.) However, you can include the cost of a prescribed drug you purchase and consume in another country if the drug is legal in both the other country and the United States.



    According to this page of the FDA http://www.fda.gov/cder/Offices/DDI/FAQ.htm#1
    it is illegal to import drugs and I have yet to find 1 drug that can be legally imported. It seems that the whole issue is a Don't Ask, Don't Tell, kind of situation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
    salpro22, Jul 20, 2007
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  8. Macdaddy
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    I have obtained numerous drugs from India, South Africa, and England for years with no prescriptions and cheap. It saves me a trip and the cost of going to a doctor, plus many times the drugs are much cheaper.

    In most other countries, prescriptions are not needed for their residents. You just walk into a pharmacy and tell them what you want.

    The only real risk, other than confiscation at the border, is in importing Class 2 narcotics and the like. You DON'T want to try that.

    I also get my vet meds the same way. Just ordered Heartworm generic and Advantage for about half of what my vet charges. When you have 3 dogs and a cat that can add up to some serious savings.
     
    Macdaddy, Jul 21, 2007
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  9. somarco
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    There is a good market for used livers . . .

    NAFTA = North American Free Trade Agreement
     
    somarco, Jul 21, 2007
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  10. Winter_123
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    It is a complex issue and the FDA and Customs have changed their rules a few times recently so that does not help. The question of the legality of purchasing drugs outside the US is different than whether it is or is not an allowable HSA expenditure.

    Some people who are purchasing drugs outside the US have a valid US prescription and are just seeking a cost savings. Some are purchasing outside the US because they do not have a prescription or do not want to go to the expense or whatever. Still others have a prescription but it was written by a foreign doctor connected with the foreign pharmaceutical company. Those are all different scenarios and then on top of that is the issue of what the HSA rules allow.

    U.S. Customs allows for the importation of up to 90 days of medication without a prescription provided that it is for personal use. Many take that rule to mean that it is legal to import and possess up to 90 days worth without a prescription. For the most part if you can get past customs you are all set and that is why meds are imported everyday without a prescription. The problem is, customs does not control state law. They may allow you to import but if you have a med that requires a prescription in that state it is still illegal to possess that and if it comes up as part some type of traffic or security search the customs regulation is not going to save you. If you have a prescription but imported it I dont think anyone is going to have an issue.

    So, the legality of purchasing drugs outside the U.S. depends on what the facts are. As noted, even if you are okay with customs and state law, you have to figure out the HSA criteria.

    Also, it goes without saying that if one person is importing allergy meds and another is importing steroids there is big difference in how closely things get looked at.

    Winter
     
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