Americans Seek Cheaper Drugs Abroad, But Can Quality be Guaranteed?

Two mothers who found cheaper meds outside the U.S. are part of a growing trend of those seeking to save on prescriptions.

This week, NPR published a report by Bram Sable-Smith on the stories of two American women who are turning to international travel to save money on medications for their families. One of the women, Michelle Fenner, is planning to add a side-trip to Tijuana onto her upcoming travels to Los Angeles with the hope of saving over $3,000 on a three-month supply of her son’s insulin. The other, Lija Greenseid, discovered on a trip to Canada that the box of insulin pens that costs $700 in the U.S. could be purchased there for about $65. As she continued to travel, she continued to see lower prices in places like Germany, Israel, Greece, Italy and Taiwan.

Utah’s Public Employee Health Plan is jumping on board the trend, too, hoping to save money on 13 particularly expensive drugs. The health plan is currently offering to pay for patients’ trips to Mexico to purchase the drugs they need.

While buying medication abroad might be a viable savings option for some, Sable-Smith reports that the FDA says it “cannot ensure the safety and effectiveness” of the medications.

Buying medication abroad isn’t a viable long-term solution to the U.S.’s high drug costs. In addition to concerns over medication quality, many patients face logistical barriers to traveling to seek lower prices, like cost and work obligations. That’s why Blink Health exists — to help make medications more affordable so that all Americans can access the FDA-approved medications they need at their local pharmacy, or even delivered to their door.


Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 233 Spring Street, 8th Floor East, New York, NY 10013, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com