completely OT but important

This is completely OT but important nonetheless to me, as I order 90% of everything I order online from the UK, for the simple reason of the amazing offer of supplements, beauty products, etc.

Do you have any idea at all if, in case Brexit does happen, the EU will continue to belong to the internal market? I know Brexit would not happen overnight anyway, but I cannot help but think about what it would mean for the free movement of goods...

This morning, I placed an order on Amazon UK. Two hours later, I got an email telling me my order had been shipped. In a couple of days, it will be delivered on my doorstep, simple as that.

The other day, I ordered some supplements from the US. Today, I got a message from DHL, informing me that, in order to make a customs declaration, they need proof of payment. The invoice enclosed is not enough, but they need a copy of my credit card statement. Last time I ordered from the US, I had to pay customs duties. And that's the US, a so called civilised country. I have stopped ordering from more "exotic" countries, as I have had several shipments confiscated by customs.

A friend of mine contacted Tammy Lowe about Thyro-Gold and shipping, and was told they have had problems with Germany and Italy. I cannot imagine depending on something and always worrying about it being detained or even confiscated by customs, never knowing when or even if it will arrive...which is why an internal market without the UK is a nightmarish scenario to me...

31 Replies

  • DHL asking for a copy of your credit card statement??? Almost certainly a scam by crooks to get your credit card details. Look up the DHL telephone number and give them a call.

    If the UK leaves the EU the single market will continue in the EU. The UK will probably continue to be part of the single market as the EU benfits more than the UK and will want to carry on.

  • Yes, I also think that sounded strange...I will look it up. I cannot imagine why an invoice should not be enough in order to determine the amount paid...

  • You were right, I contacted DHL, no credit card statement required.

  • Did you send a copy of your credit card statement? If so, you will need to contact your credit card company and get a new card.

  • No, I didn't, thanks to you I contacted DHL first:-)

  • We do so much business with Europe its in both parties interest to make sure that this can continue as smoothly as possible. I don't think you're going to suddenly have problems importing things from Europe if there's a Brexit. Switzerland and Norway are not in the EU now and they do business with everyone else.

    Try not to worry about things you can't control. Easier said than done I know.

    I also agree with Jim below that it sounds odd DHL are requesting a copy of your credit card statement and suggest you call them.

    I import a lot of things from the US and Canada and I've never had to provide proof of payment.

  • Anna69,

    The free movement of goods within the EU means we don't have to pay customs duty on goods shipped within the EU but we do on goods shipped from outside of the EU. If there is a Brexit the rest of Europe will continue as a single market but the UK's position will have to be defined.

    Individual countries within the EU determine what may and may not be imported. That won't change whether UK exits or remains. France don't allow NDT to be imported and I believe some of the Scandinavian countries have recently banned NDT.

  • No, I don't think Scandinavian countries have banned NDT recently, at least not to my knowledge (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me). Being Swedish myself (although I have not lived there for the past 18 years), I regularly correspond with thyroid patients back home, and I know several on NDT. Most order it online, true, but one is lucky enough to have her doctor prescribe it for her (she is on Armour), and then the pharmacy orders it for her. However, just like in Belgium, it's not an approved drug in Sweden, meaning the doctor prescribing it has to fill in a medical declaration (valid for one year) stating that you cannot be adequately treated with the standard drugs available for hypothyroidism in country X, but require NDT. There used to be an NDT drug called Thyranon available in Sweden, which patients reportedly did great on, but it was discontinued in 1990, and T4 drug Levaxin took over the market completely.

  • Not Karin Munsterhjelm, I hope...?! She was one of the doctors always recommended to patients who wanted/needed NDT...

  • Ok, I am not a native English speaker, so please take this for what it is...a translation of an article (in Swedish, published in a Finnish newspaper in February 2016):

    Valvira (the Finnish equivalent of the FDA) has prohibited MD Leena Furubacka from prescribing drugs used to treat thyroid disease.

    -This means problems for me in my work as a GP. I treat patients with all kinds of ailments, and it can cause problems for instance for patients with cardiac disease who also take this thyroid drug. I won’t be able to renew their prescription, says Dr. Furubacka.

    Valvira has, as of 8 February, limited Dr. Furubacka’s right to prescribe drugs, so that she can no longer treat thyroid disease, or prescribe drugs to treat those diseases.

    - -This will be problematic for all of my patients. Where will they now find the drug they need?

    Leena Furubacka prescribes a drug containing the drug T3, along with T4, a drug requiring a special license. So far, that has never been a problem.

    Furubacka is one of the few doctors who has prescribed this drug that is very hard to find.

    Many patients feel a lot better on this drug than on thyroxine alone.

    _But I guess they will have to go back to thyroxine alone and accept feeling worse, says Dr. Furubacka.

    She received a warning after someone filed an anonymous complaint with the Valvira (national authority) in 2013, claiming she was prescribing ”strange drugs”. Other MDs have also been investigated and have had their licence to prescribe drugs revoked.

    KL is one of the patients who have felt so much better on NDT. After having her thyroid gland surgically removed, she did not feel any better despite being put on levothyroxine.

    KL had lost all hope as nobody seemed able to help her feel better. She started doing research, and went to see Dr. Furubacka who helped her get better.

    To KL, the news about Dr. Furubacka’s revoked licence came as a shock.

    ”I know the FInnish national authority has been out to get doctors like Dr. Furubacka. But I still find it hard to believe the Finnish authorities can deny patients treatment that make them feel so much better. I am still struggling to digest this news”, says KL.

    KL, who feels well on NDT, cannot believe this.

    -If I suffered from heart disease or diabetes, nobody would refuse to prescribe a drug that made me feel well. But this is exactly what happened here, she says.

    -I have felt so much better on this drug. I cannot imagine having to start feeling so much worse again, simply because I can no longer take this drug, says KL.

    The Finnish national authority Valvira has not been available for a comment.

  • Ouch...I just read an interview with Dr. Munsterhjelm, published in Swedish newspaper Expressen in October 2008 (so before Armour was reformulated). She said she had treated over 200 patients unhappy with T4 drugs only with Armour and achieved great results, and that NDT could very well be "the hypothyroid drug par excellence in the future" seems patient from other Scandinavian countries went to Finland to consult with her.

    Did this Dr. Furubacka have her license revoked only because she prescribed NDT...?

  • Quite frankly, if there are instructions to systematically open and check shipments from Germany, that could be a breach of EU law. Free movement of goods stipulates that only random checks, not systematic ones, are permissible, in order to ensure free movement. Now, is there anything on the parcels themselves identifying the content (NDT, prescription drugs....)? If not, I seriously have to question the legality of these shipments between EU countries normally should not be subject to systematic control and inspection. What I mean is that if Finnish customs regularly open and inspect shipments from Germany simply because they are from Germany, for no other reason, that is not OK.

    Now, I don't think you could talk about protectionism (prohibited by the Treaties), as this is not about Finnish authorities wanting to stop import of foreign products in order to favour their own, internal products. But I seriously wonder how systematic controls and checks of shipments from a specific EU country to another (provided there is no indication of content) could be compatible with the principle of free movement of goods in the EU...?

    To me, this is like authorities in one (any) EU country would say: "OK, we now you can buy drugs fairly easily in the Netherlands so, from now on, we want all shipments from the Netherlands opened for inspection just to make sure you don't import cannabis"...would that be OK!? Because, quite frankly, unless I am missing something here, I fail to see the difference...shipments between EU countries should be able to circulate pretty freely and without impediment, that is the main rule, and anything else is the exception to that rule.

  • A lot of countries don't have trade agreements... they still trade.

  • Well it depends what you import and from where. I imported from Denmark the other day and had to pay 25% VAT on items that in the UK are zero rated. I also imported stuff from the US which was only 12% VAT and had no import duty as I was below the threshold.

  • I believe most people on this forum are worried about importing medication and are not businesses, so I'm not sure how this is relevant to them.

    But if you are speaking about businesses, Norway is not in the EU but is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), and anything imported from EU countries comes in duty-free to Norway because there is free trade between EU and EEA members. I don't see why it would be any different for the UK. Other countries in Europe need to do business with the UK as much as the UK needs to do business with the rest of Europe.

  • I believe that the EEA agreement covers most things (except agriculture and fisheries), so no need for other trade agreements, but being a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) deals with those.

  • Yes but it took them years to negotiate these...

  • Good point!

    True, that is what I am hoping for in case of a Brexit...that is, an agreement similar to the one concluded with Norway and Iceland, meaning goods can circulate freely between those countries (and possibly the UK in the future) and the EU.

    BTW, love your signature:-)

  • It also applies differently if the product is, for example, a download. In that case, it looked like there was no yearly sales threshold - VAT was chargeable on every sale to anyone in another EU country.

  • Most countries do not have trade agreements, they are quite rare, they just trade. The EU happily trades with the USA without an agreement.

  • When Obama came to Britain v recently he said something along the lines of it cd take years to renegotiate trade agreements?? Have I got the wrong end of the proverbial stick?

  • Nope,Obama using scare tactics, remember we have only recently learned how the CIA funded the architects of the EC now EU to try to ensure peace in Europe after the second world war.

    What is in the US interest is not in our interest. The US does not join a Community with Canada and central american countries nor would it.

    Will BMW,VW,Mercedes,Porsche,Audi suddenly stop selling here or up their prices .Might be better for UK car makers if they did!

  • UK car makers . Non actually spring readily to mind .Sadly British car manufacturers have gone the same way as coal mining and steel making .

    Regards Skeeter

  • Well there is still Morgan,but i was thinking of foreign owned who were unlikely to jump ship: Nissan in Sunderland, Toyota in Derby,Honda in Swindon,Vauxhall on the Wirral ( i think) , Ford still make something here.

  • Hi Treepie

    Yes Morgan Lotus and TVR were my first thoughts . I think TVR might be foreign owned now .

    I wonder how long the likes of Nissan would stay in UK if Brexit does come about . Not long I imagine .

    Cheers Skeeter.

  • Hi just to correct you although I agree with your sentiment!

    Canada and the US and Mexico have a trade treaty called NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) but WITHOUT free movement of peoples which really stumps me as the EU keep on stating that you can't have free trade without free movement of peoples!

  • I was not meaning trade treaties but the overarching way of determining regulations,laws, payments to a central body to redistribute etc.

  • I know and I totally agree with you. Also, off topic, but don't you think it was a bit much how Cameron welcomed Obama with open arms just weeks after Obama slammed him for causing chaos in Libya. Although he was right about that it was a bit rich for a serving American president to point the finger of blame and be so critical of a serving British PM especially with their foreign policy record. Plus, he is advocating we stay in Europe when the Americans would never sign away their autonomy!

  • agree!

  • The US only has trade agreements with 20 countries, they are in the middle of negotiating a new one with Europe. At the moment we trade with them without an agreement at all. I suppose this means we will carry on trading without an agreement while he finishes up his EU discussions. I don't really see the problem with this. Scare tactics as others have said.

  • The Americans are negotiating the TTIP with the EU at the moment. This is an appalling agreement that gives away things like allowing corporations to Sue a national government if they deem it to be hindering their profits. So, Monsanto could sue to get genetically modified food into the EU without labelling etc (currently not allowed). Luckily 3 European countries with the power of veto have said that they won't allow TTIP to get into law so it's not going to pass in the current form, only one European government has said they fully back the agreement in the current format. That would be the UK. So, if we do leave say goodbye to reasonable trade agreements and hello to ones that could kill the little that remains of the NHS. Which is going to fail anyway if it's not being propped up by foreign labour....

You may also like...