US Law and Overseas Online Pharmacies
Legality and some of the risks of purchasing drugs online depend largely on the specific kind / amount of the drug(s) being purchased.
Even though it’s rarely enforced, it’s actually usually illegal to purchase controlled substances from an overseas pharmacy. Indeed, a person purchasing a controlled substance from an online pharmacy may be violating two federal laws, each of which carries stiff penalties. This fact, while not well known, is nothing to make light of. The very act of importation of drugs overseas violates 21 USC, Section 952 (which can carry up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for importation of non-narcotic Schedule III, IV, or V drugs). The act of simple possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription violates 21 USC, Section 844 (which can carry up to 1 year in prison and $1,000 fine). Also, note that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t recognize online prescriptions. As far as the FDA is concerned, for the prescription to be valid, there must be a face-to-face relationship between the patient and the health care professional or doctor that’s prescribing the drug.
Today, people are so use to ordering online most anything from cosmetics, shoes, clothing, wigs, to expensive jewelry, as well as furniture, cars, and houses, they don’t think twice about whether they are breaking the law when they place an online prescription order. Well, most of the time when an online order is place, no laws are broken. Just recently I bought my daughter a true cubic zirconia ring. You might think it would be preferable to go to an actual jewelry store to get a ring since it has to be “sized”. But tricky me I took the circumference of another of her many rings and was able to use that for the size. She loved the cubic zirconia sterling silver ring. Everyone thought she was wearing a ring with little diamonds dazzling the eye. Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that is visually close in likeness to diamonds, but is relatively inexpensive. Ah, but I digress. Obviously a sterling silver ring is not an overseas prescription order for vicodin.
Occasionally, maritime lawyers become involved when a maritime worker orders drugs from an online pharmacy to give pain relief from injuries suffered while working on a US ship or barge plying the inland waterways of the United States or working on a recognized Jones Act vessels in the Gulf of Mexico or the oceans. Injured maritime workers are eligible for Maintenance and Cure Benefits when they are injured because of their maritime injury law rights. Some unscrupulous employers and insurance companies may try to steer injured seamen to one of their recommended doctors or encourage them to get prescriptions from overseas online pharmacies in an attempt to save money by not having to pay out large amounts of “cure” monies.