The laws governing the importation of prescription drugs are complex and filled with lots of gray area. Although purchasing prescription medicines from foreign pharmacies is technically illegal, in most cases, the high cost of drugs in the U.S. has pressured the government into easing some restrictions.
Sleep med turns out to be antipsychotic
Counterfeit drugs can cause adverse side effects, which can be life-threatening. In February 2007, some Internet customers who thought they were ordering Ambien (for insomnia), Xanax and Ativan (for anxiety), and Lexapro (for depression and anxiety) received drugs containing haloperidol, a powerful antipsychotic; some subsequently sought medical treatment for symptoms such as difficulty breathing and muscle spasms. "Most drugs coming from outside the U.S. are unapproved, illegal, and potentially pose risks," says FDA spokesman Chris Kelly. "Sometimes sellers from outside the U.S. dont follow our standards in labeling drugs for safe and effective use, so consumers might not be getting proper information about how to take the drug and/or about side effects."