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Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) says that foreign pharmacies who sell to Americans over the Internet, due to lack of regulation and counterfeit drugs, are dangerous. I have one question: Would that include their own pharmacies in the United Kingdom? After all, Internet pharmacy in the UK is regulated.

The NACDS is not an objective observer on this issue. As I see it, it is in cahoots with Big Pharma in sowing what is blatant misinformation about prescription drug importation and international online pharmacies. See myths and facts. For big U.S. pharmacy chains, lower prices from international pharmacies are a commercial threat.

One of NACDS’s principal members is most commonly referred to as Walgreens, but you should start calling it by the name of its main corporation, Walgreens-Boots Alliance. Why? In the United Kingdom, Boots has been in the pharmaceutical business for 165 years and is that country’s largest distributor of pharmacy products. You can bet that Walgreens-Boots is selling the same medication in the UK at a much lower cost than here in America.

For example, Januvia 100mg (sitagliptin), which treats type 2 diabetes, costs $1508.99 for 90 pills at Walgreens in Brooklyn (I just called). Compare that to $273.60, the price available online from a UK pharmacy, one verified by That UK pharmacy is a lifeline of affordable medication to an uninsured American—of which there are still around 28 million—who is prescribed Januvia. (By the way, the “American” Januvia sold in Walgreens is made in the UK).

Walgreens, via Boots, owns and profits from thousands of pharmacies in the United States and the European Union. They charge astronomically higher prices in the U.S. than in the UK because their wholesale prices, due to Big Pharma, are much higher – but also because it means higher profits for them, too. With ample funding by Walgreens and other big chain pharmacies, the NACDS warns against President Trump using his executive authority to permit importation because of the threat of unregulated pharmacies and counterfeit drugs. In a letter, which is as comically misleading as it is grave, NACDS writes:

Foreign importation from entities not subject to FDA oversight is rife with avenues for counterfeit drugs to enter the United States supply chain. In many countries, foreign internet pharmacies remain unregulated. This lack of regulation allows a foreign internet pharmacy to appear as if it is based in a country that regulates internet pharmacies, like Canada, while it is really located in a country without such regulations and with a high volume of drug counterfeiters.

But wait, let’s go back to my one question: Would this include Boots pharmacies (which are foreign pharmacies)? Of course not. Just like the pharmacies in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, Walgreens-Boots is selling safe medication in both the U.S. and the UK.  As one can see on our website, PharmacyChecker-verified online pharmacies based in Canada currently partner with licensed pharmacies in the UK. According to peer-reviewed research conducted over the past eight years, consumers are very safe buying from international online pharmacies approved in our program. However, while the pharmacies in our program are regulated, many safe international online pharmacies through which orders are placed are not necessarily regulated in a traditional sense (PharmacyChecker is not a regulator), or are they?

Here’s the kicker: contrary to what NACDS’s position that the Internet is an unregulated minefield, online pharmacies are regulated in the UK. So why not expressly permit Americans to order medications from regulated pharmacies in the UK (like Boots!)? There’s no valid reason not to, except Big Pharma and Big U.S. Pharmacy don’t want this to happen.

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