Do doctors have a responsibility to help patients import medicines from abroad?

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Almost any medicine can be purchased online from abroad. Many high-income countries permit individuals to import medicines for their personal use. However, those who import medicines face the risk of purchasing poor-quality products that may not work, or that may even harm them. Many people are willing to accept this risk for the opportunity to purchase more affordable medicines. This is especially true of individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds who already struggle to afford the medicines they need if they are not subsidised by insurers or if copayments are high. As medicine prices and out-of-pocket healthcare spending continue to climb, the online marketplace provides an important alternative for individuals in high-income countries to source medicines. In this article, I argue that doctors have a responsibility to help patients access medicines online and I propose a framework that can be used to facilitate responsible personal importation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date4 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • drug industry
  • ethics- medical
  • human rights
  • quality of health care
  • right to health


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