How To Get Drugs Cheaply

Mismarket Diversion Drugs

How To Get Drugs Cheaply

You know, AIDS drugs are sold for 0.25 cents in impoverished Africa, but the same drugs are sold for $3,500 here. That’s a ridiculous example of what this article is about, but it’s still true.

A common blood pressure medicine will be sold for $157 in France but $232 here in the USA.  (Source: International Differences in Drug Prices)

As you can see from the below, a companies US Dollar goes a lot further in other markets via “grey market diversion”. And pharmaceutical companies know this and have laws in place to protect markets where their pricing is coincident to the regional economy. But it’s easily bypassed. You can buy a container of NexGard in Mexico and sell it in the United States for twice what you paid in Mexico. You could buy a container of NexGard in Brazil and sell if for THREE times as much. You can multiply your dollar by SIX TIMES if you bring a container of veterinary drugs from India to sell in the US Market.

US Dollar | Other
10 USD 13 CAN
10 USD 20.00 MEX
10 USD 12.00 ICELAND
10 USD 30.00 THAI
10 USD 30.00 BRAZIL
10 USD 60.00 INDIA

South Africa, Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, Vietnam, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Canada.

You can multiply your dollar by SIX TIMES if you bring a container of veterinary drugs from India to sell in the US Market.

How To Get Drugs Cheaply
How To Get Drugs Cheaply

But when you do that, it’s ‘frowned upon’ by the US Federal government and every pharmacy law on the books. But it seldom results in ‘busts’ because after all, it’s veterinary non-schedule ‘drugs’.

For example: 68,000 doses of ‘prescription’ flea control were being smuggled from Mexico into the US. It was explained away as a misunderstanding, and the load was confiscated. No arrests were made.

From the Internet: “(Do not depend on the Mexico pharmacies to understand the proper dosage. A dog’s age and illness play into the dosage, not simply the weight.) Flovent in the US runs around $225 and you should be able to find it for $50-$65 depending on the pharmacy and your negotiating skills.”

The consumer isn’t the only one benefiting from diversion / mismarket. Online pet pharmacies can buy the Flovent in Mexico as well, and resell it for less than what the US Market is protected at, and STILL turn an enormous profit.

But again, buying low in one country and selling high in another country (Gray market diversion) is technically “illegal” but not enforced to any consequential degree for veterinary prescriptions. “They’re just dogs”.

What’s the impact on the consumer?

Sometimes nothing. A lot of work to save $30 a year in some cases, sometimes a savings in the hundreds of dollars without the protection of the manufecturer or the FDA / EPA. Often, they come out just fine.

The flip side is that I will never, ever, for any amount of money [or even to retain the client]; give my credentials to a US pet pharmacy that cannot ALSO fill human prescriptions.

If the pharmacy can’t legally handle human drugs, I don’t trust them to keep MY data safe, fill a pescription legitimately, limit refills, send the right drug and dose, or keep my clients privacy safe. I’ve seen too many screwed up things from 800PetMeds and their ridiculous clowns.

I can’t wait til Amazon Pillpack rises up and eats the laughably ‘toy like’ pet pharmacies’ lunches. Pillpack is LIKELY to do it right, in a legitimate way.




Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.