Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Sad Tale

I receive a lot of emails as a result of my blog postings, but none that have been as painful to read as this one:

"Dr. Fein: As a college student without insurance benefits I decided to order a much-needed expensive prescription drug (Imitrex 50mg) from the internet. I thought I was ordering from a Canadian company but when the drug arrived, I saw it was shipped from India. I had cause to try it last week when I awoke to an excruciating migraine. Over several hours I took 3 tablets receiving no relief whatsoever. Is there someplace I can send these pills to for a scientific evaluation? I feel for certain I was taken for fraud and certainly will not risk taking any more of these for fear of what it actually in the tablet's chemical makeup. I would however like to report them if they are fraudulent. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you."

I advised him to:

1) Report the incident to the FDA at the following webpage:

2) Check if he qualifies for a patient assistance program:

A troubling cautionary tale...


  1. Yikes.

    Hey, why aren't college kids eligible for Part D?

  2. College students should be eligible for insurance through their universities, through the plans of their parents if they are full time, and through Part D if they meet income or disability limits.

    Unfortunately, you get what you pay for.

    FDA did a study on this - I think it did not involve enough stores to be scientifically valid, but anecdotally at least an alarming number of "Canadian" pharmacies are NOT Canadian.

    Under Canadian requirements, my understanding is it is against the law for a pharmacist to dispense drugs to a patient that they never see.

    If these meds were charged to a credit card, customers can also file a complaint with the credit card company and your money can often be refunded and the merchant disciplined buy the credit card company.

    FDA websites with info on this:
    Buying on line:

    Canadian Pharmacies:

    General Info for consumers:

  3. This person would have been better off buying from the UK where Imigran (sumatriptan) is available OTC. :(