Internet-based pharmacies operating out of Canada have gained much business in the last few years. The ease of availability and competitive pricing have lured many customers from the United States to Canadian online pharmacies. As of 2005, of the more than 7000 pharmacies based in Canada, almost 270 were said to be operating either completely from the Internet or were using a combination of conventional and distance dispensing methods – including net-based retail.
Most of these firms operate from Western Canada and the industry employs nearly 7000 people. While the statistics may not seem overwhelming, the number of customers catered to by these online drug stores is quite significant. Of the total sales of pharmaceutical products, mail order drugs alone raked in upwards of $1 billion in sales in 2004. The online sites serve an estimated 2 million patients in the US including seniors and those without any insurance.
However, it has not been a smooth sail for the Canadian online pharmacy industry. It had to defend itself against the charges hurled from many quarters. Fears have been raised that Canadian doctors were rewriting prescriptions issued by US physicians. The Canadian Online Pharmacy industry has predictably denied all the allegations. According to them, Canadian physicians often review the prescription given by their US counterparts and do a double check on the patient’s medical background. In case of doubts, the Canadian physicians also revert back to the patient’s original physician based in the US.
The Federal Drug Administration has traced many companies selling drugs online. These were selling drugs to buyers in the US by claiming that such an act did not violate any Federal law and thus were completely legal.
According to a study, it was found that some of the Canadian online pharmacy stores were actually based in the US. These were operating illegally and were providing drugs under the guise of being Canada based online stores. Some US based pharmacies were also purchasing drugs from Canadian firms and selling them in US. sibutramine buy
Further, the shipping and handling of these drugs have also raised safety concerns as some physicians in the US feel that temperature sensitive drugs were being imported without giving due attention to packaging detail. This could have serious implications for the safety and effectiveness of the drug being imported. Production concerns have also been raised in the US as some of these drugs may have been manufactured in bulk and a compromise on quality issues cannot be completely ruled out.