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Ordering Canada Prescriptions Okay?

February 5, 2013


Dear Jennifer,

I have a patient asking me to send a script to a Canadian pharmacy for them?  Any concerns?  I am only licensed to practice medicine in NY.

Dr. R


Absolutely!  I can appreciate the patient's desire to buy cheaper prescriptions or to get certain drugs they believe are more beneficial but not available here, however, you are opening yourself to major exposure by ordering same.  Upon discussing this scenario with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), we reviewed the strict rules in place regarding the importation of controlled substances, which may, depending on the drug and quantity, be classified as a felony.  In addition, should you elect to refer, there are a whole host of state and federal laws regarding the importation of controlled substances that could also be at play.  The legal exposure here is serious, as there are potential civil, administrative and criminal liabilities for violating or assisting someone else in violating the importation laws and as always, there could be an impact on your license to practice should you run afoul of the relevant laws and regulations.  If OPMC or OPD were to catch wind from patient complaint or agency referral, your license could very well be in jeopardy.  Bottom line - don't do it.

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