Purchasing Medication Overseas
It has come to our attention more than once this past month that some travellers are planning to purchase their malaria and travellers diarrhea medications overseas. While this may seem like an excellent way to save some money, you don’t always know what you’re buying.
Counterfeit and substandard drugs are a problem in every region of the world. According to the World Health Organization, countries of low and middle income, areas of conflict and weak or non-existent health systems are at highest risk for substandard and counterfeit medications and anti-malarial medication and antibiotics are two of the most commonly reported counterfeit medications. The appearance of the false medication and its packaging can be very difficult to decipher from a legitimate manufacturer.
Substandard medications differ from counterfeit medications. Substandard medications are manufactured by a licensed manufacturer that does not adhere to manufacturing standards and can contain little or none of the active pharmaceutical ingredient. This false drug does not provide the effect that is intended and could cause serious harm.
Counterfeit medication is made by a manufacturer that is not licensed and created to appear identical to the authentic medication. These fake ‘medications’ can be made using toxic or substituted ingredients, with the incorrect active ingredient, the incorrect dose of the active ingredient and filler ingredients. This can also fail to treat or prevent the disease the medication was prescribed for in the first place and can cause serious illness or even death.
To be certain you will have a reliable prescribed or over-the-counter medication:
- purchase prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in your local licensed pharmacy in Canada before you depart
- purchase all the medications you will need for your trip, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Loperamide (Imodium)
- ensure you have enough tablets and a few extra for any chronic health concerns (eg. hypertension)
Carry your medications in the original container and in your hand baggage in case your checked baggage is lost or stolen.
Reliable Medications from Canada
Having reliable medications from Canada will provide reassurance. You will also be able to read and understand the directions, dose, and side effects, and you will save time having the medications on-hand instead of looking for a legitimate pharmacy abroad when you are in need.