Buying prescription medication online from Canadian pharmacies may technically be illegal, but that hasn't stopped countless Americans from doing it. Just what drugs do Americans buy? Glad you asked. Because the Canadian International Pharmacy Assn. just released its list of the top drugs purchased online by Americans in 2009.
Not surprisingly, many are for treating chronic conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes. Drumroll please . . . Plavix (an anticoagulant often used to prevent blood clots), Advair (a corticosteroid used for asthma), Flomax (an alpha-adrenergic blocker often given to men with enlarged prostates), Asacol (for inflammatory bowel disease), Nexium (an antacid), Zetia, Crestor and Lipitor (for treating high cholesterol), Synthroid (for hypothryroidism), Prandin, Januvia and Actos (all diabetes medications), Premarin (estrogen hormones used to treat menopause symptoms), Celebrex (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) and Dilantin (an anticonvulsant used to treat epilepsy).
Although the Food and Drug Administration has banned the purchase of drugs online from other countries, the law is rarely enforced when it's people buying pharmaceuticals for personal use. Most do it because the drugs are usually far less expensive in Canada than in the U.S.
The Canadian International Pharmacy Assn. is an association of licensed retail pharmacies that sells prescription drugs to patients in Canada and the U.S.
-- Jeannine Stein
Photo: Plavix is among the top drugs purchased online by Americans from Canadian pharmacies. Credit: Robert Sullivan / AFP / Getty Images