A few years back, mainstream medicine had a full-blown meltdown when Americans turned to mail-order pharmacies for their meds.
You’d think patients were trying to smuggle stolen goods across the border instead of just getting cheaper drugs from Canada.
But that’s the problem. When YOU pay less, THEY earn less.
Since they can’t say that part out loud, they had to cook up another reason to stop cheaper mail-order medications from making it into your hands. And they ended up sounding a lot like a nanny scolding a kid who found a candy bar at the playground.
It’s NOT safe! You DON’T know where it’s been! It could POISON you!
They used that excuse to get their government pals to pass a whole mess of rules and regulations restricting mail-order options. That ended up largely putting the drug industry and major pharmacies in control over much of our mail-order prescriptions.
But guess what? A series of new reports show these meds are NOT safe… we DON’T know where they’ve been… and they might even POISON you.
They were right… sort of… but for the wrong reason. (See, miracles DO happen.)
The TRUTH about meds-by-mail
Here’s the thing about medications. Most are supposed to be kept within specific temperature ranges. It’s not just drugs that need refrigeration, either.
NBC News found that many mail-order medications arrive with melted ice packs, which is bad enough. But at least you can tell when you open the box that the refrigerated drugs, such as insulin and certain biologics, might be spoiled based on those soggy boxes.
Most other drugs, however, require “room temperature,” or 68-77 degrees. Anything outside that zone could cause compounds in the medication to break down and deteriorate. They can lose effectiveness or even turn toxic.
And guess what? They might LOOK and SMELL just fine.
So there’s no way to know. You could pop the box and never realize that these meds made stops in Hades or the North Pole before reaching your doorstep.
NBC sent five packages last February using different shipping services. Each contained a device inside to track temperatures. And they found that some packages spent up to 38 hours in freezing conditions.
In a separate summer experiment, the network found packages inside UPS delivery trucks could hit 104 degrees.
And in a study conducted by the University of Utah, researchers shipped out 48 packages of meds at different times of the year. Each also contained devices to track temperature.
- The packages spent between 27 percent and 54 percent of their travel time outside of recommended temperature ranges in summer.
- In winter, they spent 68-87 percent of their transit time outside of those ranges.
This doesn’t mean the drugs are all automatically bad. But it’s not ideal. And it certainly COULD lead to less effective, ineffective, or in some cases outright dangerous meds (especially if the drugs that require refrigeration get too hot).
Make the switch from mail-order medications
Many of us switched to mail-order meds when the coronavirus hit. But it might be time to make another change.
Your best bet is to visit a brick-and-mortar pharmacy since they have stricter temperature regulations. And since many now have drive-throughs and curbside pick-up, they’re safe options even during the pandemic.
If that’s not possible, some med packages now include little strips and tabs that change color if they were outside of specific temperature zones. Look for them – and if they’re the wrong color, call for a replacement.
If you have any questions, don’t just take a potentially spoiled medication. Call your pharmacy or your doctor first.
And for the BEST replacement option of all, speak to a naturopathic doctor about safer non-drug treatments and other natural ways to overcome common health concerns. That way, you might not need those meds in the first place.
In fact, research shows one in three seniors IS taking unnecessary meds. Find out what the 6 most common meds seniors should consider stopping are here.