A medicine — oxsoralen — used to treat some patients with psoriasis is currently unavailable in the United States due to manufacturing issues. One solution: get the medicine from Canada.
When there’s no choice to get the medication from a reputable U.S. pharmacy, going across the border to get medication may make sense. But more and more, I hear people talking about going outside the United States for medication and medical care. There are risks and benefits to such activity.
On the one hand, leaving the United States means leaving behind a system of protections that provides a strong safety net for patients. But that system of protections is costly. Many of us can afford those protections; many can’t.
Ordering medication from across the border or leaving the United States for a major medical procedure may save money and may even allow patients access to treatments that aren’t yet available in the United States (because they haven’t yet been adequately tested to U.S. standards). But beware. We can’t extrapolate the assurances of U.S. medical care to countries that, for better or worse, don’t have our system of patient protections in place.