Maine has become the first state to officially allow the importation of prescription drugs from foreign pharmacies. This flies in the face of existing FDA regulations, which forbid the practice. It is unclear whether the law will remain in effect; it is currently being contested in federal court. In the meantime, however, residents of the state can legally go online and order their prescription medications from pharmacies in places like Canada. While the law is certainly new, the practice of obtaining drugs from foreign countries certainly is not. Thanks to its proximity to Canada, Maine is home to many people who have crossed the border to obtain the medications they need at drastically reduced prices. Technically, however, anyone who is caught doing so can face serious consequences. Ordering medications online seems easier, but it remains illegal in the other 49 states and can come with major consequences as well. Despite that, many people go ahead and do so because they simply cannot afford to pay for their medications here in the United States. The problem with prescription drug costs in the U.S. is complex. Pharmaceutical companies can pretty much charge whatever they would like, and the issue goes hand in hand with the exorbitant cost of healthcare in the U.S. in general. The list price for many popular drugs is truly staggering, so it is little wonder that people in Maine and throughout the rest of the country actively look for alternatives. People who have excellent health insurance can often get the medications they need for fairly reasonable prices. Unfortunately, millions of people in the U.S. do not have health insurance. Millions more are under-insured. Their policies often do not include prescription drug coverage, for instance, so they still have to pay out of pocket for the medications they need. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 25 million people did not take their prescribed medications in 2009 because they could not afford to buy them. As reported by the Commonwealth Fund, a staggering 48 million people did not bother having prescriptions filled at all in 2010 for the same reason. In many cases, the prescribed medications are needed to control and treat very serious conditions. Since the passage of the law in Maine, a lot has been said about its advantages and disadvantages. The most immediate and obvious advantage is that it allows people to obtain the medications they need for drastically reduced prices. Proponents also point out that this could put pressure on pharmaceutical companies to reduce their prices in order to keep people from turning to foreign companies. Not surprisingly, pharmacy groups and pharmaceutical companies are opposed to the new law. They claim that it will stifle innovation by taking away profits that could be used to fund research. A much bigger concern revolves around safety, with many claiming that buying drugs from foreign pharmacies is fraught with peril. However, Maine Governor Paul LePage has gone on the record as saying that he has no concerns about safety. Any drug lawsuit lawyer will tell you that concerns about safety and the new law are valid. Right here in the U.S., people experience serious health problems and even die due to negligence by pharmaceutical companies and others. If taking prescribed medications has caused health problems for you, it is crucial to retain the services of an experienced class action lawsuit attorney as quickly as possible. Whether or not you live in Maine, you may be tempted to buy medications from overseas. Even if you buy them here in the U.S., things could go wrong. If they do, a prescription drug lawsuit attorney can work to protect your rights. No matter how the situation in Maine plays out, consumer safety has to be the top concern at all times.