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Buying Prescription Drugs Online Without Getting Burned

Buying Prescription Drugs Online Without Getting Burned
Photograph by Jonathan A. Myers/Getty Images

Most thrifty Americans who fill prescriptions from pharmacies outside the U.S. are unaware of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, a law that prohibits their importation without Food and Drug Administration approval. Maine residents might be more cognizant of the prohibition because of a recently passed state law that goes into effect in October permitting them to order drugs from Canada and a handful of other countries.

Carmen Catizone, executive director for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which opposed the legislation, describes the bill’s passage in Maine as “the same situation as states passing medical marijuana laws in direct violation of federal laws.” State Senator Anne Haskell, a Democrat who voted in favor of the law, acknowledges its legality “is a question that isn’t solved until someone takes it to court,” but says the federal government hasn’t signaled it will try to stop Mainers.