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Old 07.02.2019, 18:09
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Is it legal? [shipping medications between countries]

Hi,

I started an antidepressant medication while living in Switzerland, Venlafaxin- that is readily available in other countries (from different manufacturers) including Cyprus where I moved back to.

When I run out of my Swiss made stock, I bought the equivalent (same name, same dose - different brand) here in Cyprus and started taking them. I started slowly experiencing anxiety, mood swings, and within 2 weeks I was in full blown 24h long panic attack ( that I havenít experienced since staring the medication, and never that intense and long)

Crying uncontrollably one night I tried to summon enough sanity to understand what is happening and why. I started thinking when did this start and what changed ? Did I eat something new, drink, take any new medication or supplement???

And then it flashed - it started 2 weeks ago - and 2 weeks ago I started taking same medication- but from different manufacturing company!!!!!!! 😱 I knew it sounded way too crazy to be true, but not more crazy then what was happening to me! I never suspected, ever, that something like that could be a problem.

I called my X and pleaded that he get me some sent from Switzerland with the fastest way possible . Thatís when I heard that sending medication abroad is iligal ???? I took the next plane, and came to Switzerland, got the pills and after about 2 days of taking them, all madness went away.

Bizarre!!!!

Now Iím afraid to try any other brand, I am seriously traumatized by the hell I went trough.

So here I am, running out of the supply I got from Switzerland and ready to buy a plane ticket to get my drugs 🤐
But thatís bizarre too!!! I should be able to order them to be sent to me!!!! I donít see what not???
Does anyone know if there is a legal way to do that ???

I would really appreciate any info
Thank you so much

🍀
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Old 07.02.2019, 18:51
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Re: Is it legal?

Sorry about your experience. Anything medical, specially drug related, is a highly regulated. Simply ordering some drugs from abroad is not possible.
What is OTC is one country can get you in the jail in another. Not joking, some DR. BńHLER Bronchialpastillen in your handbag ask for big trouble in Dubai or the Emirates.

Some medication such as anti-depressiva can have a very narrow therapeutic window. Means if you change the dose up or down it will act very differently or not at all. Generics might slightly differ in how good they perform in respect to the original. For most drugs this is not an issue. Put for those with a narrow window the permitted difference can be too big.
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Old 07.02.2019, 18:56
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Re: Is it legal?

Can you get brand name vs generic there?

I had issues with a generic med (different type of drug), it happens. It's not foolproof. But there is no reason to have to fly to Switzerland for an antidepressant!
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:12
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Re: Is it legal?

A good start would be seeing a Doctor where you live. She likely would be able to find a permanent solution for you.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:30
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Re: Is it legal?

OP, your story is a little confusing. Venlafaxine is the generic name of your medication. What is the brand of venlafaxine that you were prescribed in Switzerland? It will almost certainly be available in Cyprus, as well. Note that the exact same drug, made by the same manufacturer (not a generic copy) is sometimes marketed under different brand names in different countries.

All antidepressants are available on prescription only; you would need a prescription from a Swiss doctor to purchase venlafaxine from a pharmacy in Switzerland, and of course you would have to pay full price for it here. It is highly likely that your drug (made by the same manufacturer, probably with the same brand name but even if not, still identical to the drug you were taking in Switzerland) is also available in Cyprus. Why not cut out all the complications and get it prescribed and supplied there? It may be subsidised or reimbursed there, too; I'm not familiar with the Cypriot health service, if there is one.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:36
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Re: Is it legal?

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What is OTC is one country can get you in the jail in another. Not joking, some DR. BńHLER Bronchialpastillen in your handbag ask for big trouble in Dubai or the Emirates.
Or even a poppy-seed roll!

Even had a freind in France ask me to bring poppy seeds from Switzerland (available in any supermarket) as they were illegal there!

Tom
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:38
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Re: Is it legal?

Thank you all for your advices.

I did go to doc here, and he is the one who prescribed the available equivalent.

Now, I will add this:

In numerous docs visits I had in past 8 years I realized their knowledge is limited, production line like , and what deviates from the norms is written off as patients fault ( mental problems, delusions etc.) After all this time, I honestly donít have time, money or will to spend on being looked upon as a lunatic 😉

I do not expect any doc to know everything, but I do expect an open mind and a problem solving mindset. That is rare, and my financials do not allow for going out to find one ....

And in this specific case, I also didnít have any suspicion until I was waaaaay over my head in horrifying panic . Now, it sounds ďcrazyĒ even to me, imagine how it would sound to them😦

It was so intense tho, that I am resolved to never experience it again ( thus stick to the one I know works)

To add here - Effexor ( or generic Venlafaxine) is by now known to have horrific withdrawal symptoms. ( of course no doctor ever told me that, nor do many know about it as THAT is not their job it seams) ... the problems can last for years .... Itís something to be doubted only by those who havenít experienced it.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:42
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Re: Is it legal?

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Thank you all for your advices.

I did go to doc here, and he is the one who prescribed the available equivalent.

Now, I will add this:

In numerous docs visits I had in past 8 years I realized their knowledge is limited, production line like , and what deviates from the norms is written off as patients fault ( mental problems, delusions etc.) After all this time, I honestly donít have time, money or will to spend on being looked upon as a lunatic 😉

I do not expect any doc to know everything, but I do expect an open mind and a problem solving mindset. That is rare, and my financials do not allow for going out to find one ....

And in this specific case, I also didnít have any suspicion until I was waaaaay over my head in horrifying panic . Now, it sounds ďcrazyĒ even to me, imagine how it would sound to them😦

It was so intense tho, that I am resolved to never experience it again ( thus stick to the one I know works)

To add here - Effexor ( or generic Venlafaxine) is by now known to have horrific withdrawal symptoms. ( of course no doctor ever told me that, nor do many know about it as THAT is not their job it seams) ... the problems can last for years .... Itís something to be doubted only by those who havenít experienced it.

Most - all?? - medications like SSRIs have potentially horrid withdrawal symptoms and I'd be very surprised if this wasn't explained to you.

OP, I'm confused, are you venting/seeking validation or looking for meds?
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:42
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Re: Is it legal?

Interesting you say only a Swiss Dr prescription as acceptable, I have used Swiss prescriptions in 4 countries 3 of which don't speak German.

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OP, your story is a little confusing. Venlafaxine is the generic name of your medication. What is the brand of venlafaxine that you were prescribed in Switzerland? It will almost certainly be available in Cyprus, as well. Note that the exact same drug, made by the same manufacturer (not a generic copy) is sometimes marketed under different brand names in different countries.

All antidepressants are available on prescription only; you would need a prescription from a Swiss doctor to purchase venlafaxine from a pharmacy in Switzerland, and of course you would have to pay full price for it here. It is highly likely that your drug (made by the same manufacturer, probably with the same brand name but even if not, still identical to the drug you were taking in Switzerland) is also available in Cyprus. Why not cut out all the complications and get it prescribed and supplied there? It may be subsidised or reimbursed there, too; I'm not familiar with the Cypriot health service, if there is one.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:44
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Re: Is it legal?

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Thank you all for your advices.

I did go to doc here, and he is the one who prescribed the available equivalent.

Now, I will add this:

In numerous docs visits I had in past 8 years I realized their knowledge is limited, production line like , and what deviates from the norms is written off as patients fault ( mental problems, delusions etc.) After all this time, I honestly don’t have time, money or will to spend on being looked upon as a lunatic ��

I do not expect any doc to know everything, but I do expect an open mind and a problem solving mindset. That is rare, and my financials do not allow for going out to find one ....

And in this specific case, I also didn’t have any suspicion until I was waaaaay over my head in horrifying panic . Now, it sounds “crazy” even to me, imagine how it would sound to them��

It was so intense tho, that I am resolved to never experience it again ( thus stick to the one I know works)

To add here - Effexor ( or generic Venlafaxine) is by now known to have horrific withdrawal symptoms. ( of course no doctor ever told me that, nor do many know about it as THAT is not their job it seams) ... the problems can last for years .... It’s something to be doubted only by those who haven’t experienced it.
Rest assured, every doctor knows that almost all antidepressants produce severe withdrawal symptoms if they are withdrawn abruptly. But from what you say, your Cypriot doctor didn't withdraw or even step down your medication. He prescribed a generic equivalent medication (presumably maintaining the dose). If you believe the change in manufacturer caused your problem, just ask the doctor for a prescription for Effexor, with no generic substitution (by the pharmacist) permitted.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:45
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Re: Is it legal?

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Now Iím afraid to try any other brand, I am seriously traumatized by the hell I went trough.

🍀
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Sorry about your experience. Anything medical, specially drug related, is a highly regulated. Simply ordering some drugs from abroad is not possible.
What is OTC is one country can get you in the jail in another. Not joking, some DR. BńHLER Bronchialpastillen in your handbag ask for big trouble in Dubai or the Emirates.

Some medication such as anti-depressiva can have a very narrow therapeutic window. Means if you change the dose up or down it will act very differently or not at all. Generics might slightly differ in how good they perform in respect to the original. For most drugs this is not an issue. Put for those with a narrow window the permitted difference can be too big.
+1

In addition, some antidepressants are sold by the original manufacturers as extended release capsules which is governed by different regulations and intellectual property laws than the drug compound itself. The generic drug manufacturers are only allowed to use the intellectual property relating to the use of the drug compound, but the drug delivery system (capsule) remains proprietary. Now the generic manufacturer is supposed to demonstrate 'substantial equivalence', that their version results in a similar blood concentration profile over time as compared to the original. This is very difficult to do though without the original capsule system and regulatory authorities often allow significant deviations from that ideal because most of the time it doesn't matter. But there is a scientific literature which specifically mentions antidepressants and shows that sometimes it does matter.

However, regardless of the cause, there is an easy fix to your problem; you cannot import or export medicines across international borders, but your licensed pharmacist can. Go back to him or her with the bottle of your Swiss pills and explain what happened. He/She should be happy to identify the pills from their color, shape and markings and source your prescription for you in future from the same manufacturer. But do this now, because it may take the pharmacy longer to receive them than from their usual manufacturer.

And let us know how you get on; it's always good for the next person with a similar problem to hear your feedback.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:49
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Re: Is it legal?

I only tried to explain why I am fixated on the specific medication that I can get only in Switzerland.

I still have a valid Swiss prescription for them, but I know I can use the Cypriot prescription as well , as I have done that once with the same medication ( first time I flew in)

I only asked if ( but I forgot to mention I have prescription, sorry) there is a legal way I can obtain them without physically going to Switzerland.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:50
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Re: Is it legal?

Go home maybe ?
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:52
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Re: Is it legal?

My GP and pediatrician have told us to avoid generic meds, same story from doctors I know back home. It is not just happy pills, but we were warned against inefficient ATBs. I have never believed that generic stuff always equals the original.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:54
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Re: Is it legal?

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Go home maybe ?
Are you serious?
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:55
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Re: Is it legal?

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I only tried to explain why I am fixated on the specific medication that I can get only in Switzerland.

I still have a valid Swiss prescription for them, but I know I can use the Cypriot prescription as well , as I have done that once with the same medication ( first time I flew in)

I only asked if ( but I forgot to mention I have prescription, sorry) there is a legal way I can obtain them without physically going to Switzerland.
Yes. Through your pharmacy.
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:57
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Re: Is it legal?

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However, regardless of the cause, there is an easy fix to your problem; you cannot import or export medicines across international borders, but your licensed pharmacist can. Go back to him or her with the bottle of your Swiss pills and explain what happened. He/She should be happy to identify the pills from their color, shape and markings and source your prescription for you in future from the same manufacturer. But do this now, because it may take the pharmacy longer to receive them than from their usual manufacturer.

And let us know how you get on; it's always good for the next person with a similar problem to hear your feedback.
Aaaaaw, thank you so much !!!! 😃

Thatís the perfect solution. I really appreciate your help. I will do that right away.

And yes, I will be posting how it goes and if there were any problems or it worked out smoothly.

Thank you all for your time 🙏🙏🙏
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Old 07.02.2019, 19:58
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Re: Is it legal?

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Interesting you say only a Swiss Dr prescription as acceptable, I have used Swiss prescriptions in 4 countries 3 of which don't speak German.
All very interesting, but not what we're talking about, is it? Whether other countries accept Swiss prescriptions is irrelevant. Swiss pharmacists may accept foreign prescriptions at their discretion. Most don't, and pharmacists are certainly circumspect when it comes to mental health. My advice to the OP, to be sure of having their prescription filled in Switzerland, was and remains to obtain a Swiss prescription—but more sensibly, obtain the medication in their home country.

Last edited by 22 yards; 07.02.2019 at 21:06. Reason: Typo
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Old 07.02.2019, 20:31
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Re: Is it legal?

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My GP and pediatrician have told us to avoid generic meds, same story from doctors I know back home. It is not just happy pills, but we were warned against inefficient ATBs. I have never believed that generic stuff always equals the original.
From a reputable supplier- this is just so wrong for the vast majority of drugs.
And peddling these kinds of ideas - is costing the health insurance and services bilions.
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Old 07.02.2019, 20:56
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Re: Is it legal?

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Or even a poppy-seed roll!

Even had a freind in France ask me to bring poppy seeds from Switzerland (available in any supermarket) as they were illegal there!

Tom
Your friend was pulling your leg, I've often bought poppy seeds in the nearest branch of Migros across the border in France, even Amazon France sells them;
https://www.amazon.fr/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...ine+coquelicot
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