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Drug Running in the USA


This is a bizarre tale of woe.  Sharon seems to regularly run afoul with US customs. Why is a question that is beyond knowing.  Is she red circled?

Both of us have health issues that require medication.  Both issues are serious but the way we look at it is that you only get one chance to go around in this world - so we may as well live life to the fullest.  We deal with health issues,  but we try not to let them cramp our life style more than necessary. 

Medication and life style changes are warding off the more serious repercussions,  so we sail the world.  The health issues are in control.

So .... Sharon's issue was identified during our pre-departure health checkups.  One of the treatments involved prescription drugs that occasionally have undesired side effects.  Those undesirable side effects are detectable by blood test. 

Believe me when I tell you the darn drugs are pretty expensive.  With Canada's and the USA's aging population,  the drug companies are set to wreak some serious profits.  These two sailors - Rae and Sharon - are contributors the drug company's profits.  Contributors but not customers.  The drug company customers are the doctors and health insurance organizations.  We are just the dirty old end users.  Excuse the rant.

So!  We get a three month supply.  As directed by her doctors, Sharon does the three month check up blood test which confirms no adverse reactions.  The drugs are working pretty darn well so we ordered a six month supply to be shipped to Ventura.  Then we tucked into Ventura to await the shipment.

Ventura is a cool little surfer town.  The locals say it is the 'sticks' - but to Canucks from small town White Rock it feels pretty good.  Great beaches,  fantastic surf,  nice people - friendly small town USA.  Not a bad place to await a drug shipment.

I had expected some delay - but it got messy and appeared damn near impossible.  USA customs enforcing the FDA directives held the drugs and requested the Pharmacy to go through a NAFTA approval process to authorize them to import drugs to their partner corporation in USA.  Not something the pharmacy had in mind.

The Pharmacy request the drugs be returned.  Sharon's friend at the Pharmacy - Joy kept us posted on the progress or lack there of.  Sharon has been calling UPS,  and customs a half dozen times a day.  But we can't move those drugs.

Monitoring the UPS shipment via the web,  it appears customs will not release the drugs for return for at least 84 hours.  All the while we are worried about the drugs being compensated as further research indicates that it is against US law to do what we are trying to do.  Remember these drugs are expensive drugs.

Friends Dennis and Jan offer to act as middle men,  pick the drugs up from White Rock,  carry them across the border then courier them to us.  More research reveals that if caught,  our friends would be considered an accessory to the illegal importation of drugs.  A few years in a US prison is a risk that nobody is that keen on.

Sharon's supply is running low.  We are now convinced that Sharon will have to fly home and physically pick up the drugs and import them herself - which does appear to be legal. The pharmacy has had success mailing the drugs - but we are not so sure about that.

We plan to hop down to San Diego,  Sharon will fly home,  pick up the drugs and deal with customs in person.  I have the engines going, sail cover off,  and we are ready to cast off.  The phone rings.  For once, we actually hear the phone ringing over the engine noise and it is Joy from the pharmacy. The drugs have been released and are in Ventura.


But not so fast.  There is now an additional brokers fee on the package and the UPS store has retuned the shipment as they don't accept COD.  Crikey! 

Scramble to the phone,  turn the engines off,  find the package,  UPS agrees to re-route it back to the store as long as we are there to pay the brokers fee.  Leaning on the kindness our new friends from the Ventura Yacht Club we are able to borrow a car and zoom into town where we arrive 5 minutes before the UPS truck. 

Got them!