The wide range of tools the internet can provide has proven problematic in the regulation of prescription drugs that are sold from online pharmaceutical companies based in foreign countries. Counterfeit drugs have exploded onto the scene and as reported by Forbes, the worldwide market for these drugs is estimated to be worth 75 billion dollars. Maine has recently passed a law allowing the importation of these non-approved FDA drugs to be sold from countries such New Zealand and Australia. Drug companies are worried their reputations will be lost if subprime medications make their way onto the American scene.
Price control of prescription drugs is seen in most developed and wealthy nations, and despite the U.S. being both wealthy and developed, there are no price controls on prescription drugs. Prices of certain medications are much higher in America than in other countries in which the government sets controls. And as such, many Americans are not happy about the fact that they are paying a higher price for the same medications that people in other countries are buying.
There are systems in other countries that work to get cheaper medications to their citizens: some European countries funnel cheaper drugs from poorer countries like Greece through systems of parallel trade. Recently, drug companies have begun to delay the exportation of their newer, more expensive drugs to poorer countries in order to combat the black market selling of their drugs to wealthier companies.
Unfortunately, this parallel trade gives rise to selling and making of fake and sometimes dangerous drugs. Many of these fake drugs have made their way to the United States. One example of these fake drugs are fake doses of Avastin, which is a cancer drug.
These fake drugs have gotten so hard to detect, that even the drug’s manufacturer may have a difficult time sorting through real and counterfeit pills. It is for this reason the FDA has said it cannot adequately ensure the safety of drugs that are coming from foreign countries.