How to Buy and Use Medicine

Get answers to common questions about buying and using medications, such as ways to get help with prescription drug costs and the steps to file complaints about medicine and medical products.

Help with Prescription Drug Costs

What help is available?

Am I eligible?

The requirements for each program vary by state. Your state human services agency or your local health center will determine your eligibility.

How do I apply?

Your state human services agency or local health center will be able to help you with the application process. Applications and requirements vary in states and cities.

How do I complain/where do I call for extra help?

If you need additional help finding the right program for you, or you want to make a complaint about a program, contact RXAssist.

Is there anything else I need to know?

  • Contact the pharmaceutical companies that make your prescription drugs or devices, and ask for any low-cost options, samples, or discounts,

  • Learn more about finding generic drugs to lower your costs.

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Complaints about Medicine and Medical Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) manages consumer complaints about medicines, dietary supplements, and medical devices.

If you or someone in your family had an adverse reaction to a medical product:

Pet Medication Problems

Some dogs or cats may have adverse reaction to medication or problems with a medical device. You have several options:

File a Complaint About an Online Pharmacy

If you suspect an online pharmacy is fake, report it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Tracking Potentially Dangerous Medication

The FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database tracks information from reports about problems associated with medical products. The FDA releases quarterly reports based on information from FAERS to help medical professionals and the public learn about potential safety issues with specific medical products.

Dietary Supplements

The FDA regulates dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs as food products.

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Imported Prescription Medicine for Personal Use

In most cases, it is illegal to ship or mail a prescription medication to the U.S. for personal use because drugs in other countries have not been properly evaluated or approved by the FDA.

Bringing Medication into the U.S.

Bringing Your Medications into a Foreign Country

Before Your Trip

  • Check the website of the U.S. Embassy or consulate located in the country you are traveling to, or contact them by phone to learn more about that foreign government’s policy.
  • Check the website of the foreign country you will be visiting under the travelers or visitors section for guidance or restrictions on the importing of medication or medical devices for personal use.
  • You can also contact the foreign country’s consulate located in the U.S. and closest to your state.
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Last Updated: September 21, 2018