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Internet Pharmacy -- Trust or not?

Original post made by Anonymous, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 9, 2007

So, after problems with a several drugs in the same class, my doctor suggested possibly trying an older one in the same class that isn't sold in this country (probably because there's no profit in it). It's perfectly legal to order from outside, but I couldn't find a Canadian pharmacy that sold it either. So I bought it from a pharmacy located in Australia, Better Life Pharmacy.

It arrived addressed from an apartment in India! On reading the fine print, Better Life Pharmacy says most of their drugs are from India. The manufacturer, at least ostensibly, is Alembic India, a reputable manufacturer. But I've read that currently the most fake drugs are coming out of India, and the one I'm taking is on the list of most often counterfieted.

Is there an affordable way to verify that the drug I have is the real thing? Has anyone had experience with Better Life Pharmacy?

Comments (9)

Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 9, 2007 at 7:01 am

I finally tried to use an internet pharmacy also last year. What I got was clearly NOT the same thing, though packaged similarly. My own med didn't make me sleepy at all, this one did. I tried it twice to see if it was just coincidence the first time.

This one came from Argentina.

After this, I read an article that stated Internet Pharmacies "false" meds had gone from something like 5% to about 30% of all internet meds sold.

So, no more for me, unless maybe from a real pharmacy in Canada?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2007 at 7:52 am

I've had good experiences ordering from, which is based in Canada. You can see which country your medication is being ordered from, the prices are good, and they seem to have a very good reputation.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Give your plan and your local pharmacy a chance. They can usually work out something to help. If you want to buy something foreign order a Russian Bride [or a Greek husband if you be a she]

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2007 at 11:37 pm

Hi Walter,
I have the greatest local pharmacy, the pharmacists are definitely experienced medical professionals, not pill counters. For things they can't handle, my doctor refers me sometimes to one a few towns away and one in another state. Unfortunately, this is something outside their scope.

There are drugs sold here that drug makers simply stop selling when their patents run out, but they continue to sell them elsewhere. This is different, I'm pretty sure this drug was never approved here.

There are a a surprising number of drugs commonly sold elsewhere in the world for years that never make it here because they are common, extremely cheap drugs with no huge profit potential. I used to get one of those drugs through a US pharmacy in another state who obtained it from overseas -- cost was something like $4 for 30 days of the drug, with other sundry charges like postage and compounding adding up to $45. Finally the drug came on the market here -- costs a few times that now just for the pills.

I didn't get it from overseas for a cost savings, I got it because there was no equivalent in this country. The closest thing in the same class available here had terrible side effects and didn't have the same efficacy -- the other drug worked better for my problem and had far fewer side effects.

No, unfortunately in this case, I had no avenue to get the drug through a US pharmacy. The AIDS epidemic has made for legislation allowing people here to obtain drugs from overseas that are not approved here, as long as they are approved through the equivalent government agency in the country of origin. As I said, there are a surprising number of commonly used (and typically cheap) drugs available in virtually every other country except ours. It was quite an eye opener for me.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2007 at 9:32 am

I do hope it works for you. I wonder if it is not the cost of liability insurance rather than the lack of a profit that discourages US manufacture of orphan drugs - look what happened to flu vaccine. Live long and prosper.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2007 at 11:16 am

Thanks for the good wishes.

I am sure the cost of liability insurance must factor into many decisions. Also just the cost of getting th drugs through our system. That's kind of a tragedy in itself when a drug has been widely used all over the world for so long, that there shouldn't have to be a lot of duplicated effort on our end.

Unfortunately, in some cases it appears the drug makers just don't like not being able to make $10 a pill -- I've seen several drugs which makers stopped selling (and the FDA paperwork said it was not because of adverse reactions or problems) when the patents ran out. Soon after or concurrently, makers brought out "me too" drugs that were on patent and which they could sell instead for the same profits. The off-patent drugs continued for sale, by the same makers, in other countries, including Canada -- probably because they never were making those outrageous profits there to begin with.

Posted by Amdy
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 8, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Regarding your original question re, Ive used them for generic Plavix and it works just as well as the much more expensive branded version in my opinion. I always check the pharmacy has been verified by first before I even think of ordering...that way you know the meds are legit.

Posted by Ammy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2008 at 2:00 am

I had a good experience with ordering drugs online. I usually order my meds at They based both in India and UK. The they are since 1914 in the pharmacy domain. I felt to be really reliable online resource.

Posted by Mike Joseph
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 15, 2008 at 7:38 am


Thanks for the tip. I am going to give International Drug Mart a try. I have had good experiences with Indian pharmacies before, and I know their prices can't be beat.

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