Using Canadian Pharmacies

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
sk.dolcevita
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:55 am

Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sk.dolcevita » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:17 pm

Our prescription bill has exploded this year from few tens of dollars per month to several hundreds. More prescriptions, changes in insurance company prescription tiers and formulary, and higher deductible have all contributed to inflation. I have already done the obvious - switch to generics or cheapest alternatives where possible. To further mitigate this almost unaffordable expense, I am exploring buying medicines from a reputable mail-order Canadian pharmacy if one such exists. Based on my internet research, doing this would bring my prescription costs back down to tens of dollars. Even if I can't find a mail-order pharmacy, it may be more cost effective for me to use my frequent flyer miles every 90 days (or more) to fly to Toronto, get my prescriptions filled and fly back the same day.

Questions:

1). Assuming I can find a reputable Canadian pharmacy willing to mail me my medicines, what are pros and cons of this approach (other than obvious ones - savings and quality)?

2). Has anyone tried this? If yes, what was your experience like and would you be able to provide a recommendation for a Canadian pharmacy?

BTW, none of the prescriptions we are taking are controlled substances.

TIA.

killjoy2012
Posts: 1044
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by killjoy2012 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:42 pm

I live in a US town that borders Canada, and while I wouldn't hesitate to make a drive across the border occasionally to save some money, I don't think I'd trust the Internet/mail order pharmacy approach. No narcotics or blue pills makes things less risky, but the online pharmacies have a poor rep.

If your doctor will write you a script for 6 months worth of drugs, it could certainly be worth a drive/flight, depending on the dynamics. They come over here daily for gas, etc.

Derby
Posts: 114
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:56 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Derby » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:47 pm

Have you looked at pricing your prescriptions at GoodRx.com?
Carpe Diem.

sport
Posts: 7391
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sport » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:50 pm

Have you priced your Rx's at Costco? They sometimes have much lower prices. I have found the prices in the store can differ from those on-line. So, it is good to check both.

dpc
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:41 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by dpc » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:02 pm

I've purchased some OTC drugs not available in the US on-line via Canada - no issues. If there was a significant price difference, I'd give it a try.
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers

pochax
Posts: 1340
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:40 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by pochax » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:05 pm

i've done it (and just did it yesterday)....i save ~70% on the US version. but for me it would depend on how life-saving the drug is. if i had no margin of error if it wasn't the correct drug, i probably wouldn't do it.
Last edited by pochax on Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sk.dolcevita
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:55 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sk.dolcevita » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:14 pm

OP here. Yes, I have checked GoodRx.com and Costco (as well as called several other local pharmacies). I did not have much success in finding a cash price that was lower than the insurance-negotiated price.

None of the drugs are controlled, lifestyle or critical life or death drugs.

For those who have purchased from Canada, how did you satisfy yourself regarding the credentials of pharmacy? Any recommedations?

User avatar
tc101
Posts: 3014
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by tc101 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:18 pm

I got viagra at about 1/3 of the cheapest US price and it worked fine. I would be more careful about a drug that was important to my survival.
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

User avatar
TheGreyingDuke
Posts: 1502
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:43 pm

Although I am within an hour of the frontier I have yet to do an in-person purchase of meds in Canada. Last winter I did purchase some nasal steroids that my doc told me I should use all winter. Locally, the best I could get was about $150 a month (and this was through Part D Coverage).

Ordered online from Canada is $80 for three months. Quality?? The package indicate that it was manufactured in Australia by Glaxo/Smith/Kline, the insert is all as expected. and it did the job. One data point...
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells

Gill
Posts: 4728
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:38 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Gill » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:49 pm

Have used Blue Sky Drugs in Canada for years with huge savings.
Gill

FS1087
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:18 am
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by FS1087 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:07 pm

blinkhealth.com has been in the news a lot lately.

Here's a link to a previous boglehead discussion of this subject: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=129654&newpost=1964374

Good luck!

Mapache
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:39 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Mapache » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:01 pm

Yesterday's NBC Nightly News had a segment on Blink Health. You might want to go to their website and view it.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 8004
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:35 pm

I haven't checked with them for years, but this used to be a good source of reputable Canadian pharmacies...

http://www.cipa.com/
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14343
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Watty » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:50 pm

For those of you that have bought prescription drugs from an online Canadian pharmacy, where they actually shipped from Canada?

In looking into this many of the ones that seem to be legitimate, like they have CIPA certification, also ship out of other countries.

In one of the resources I was looking in researching this it mentioned that a Canadian Pharmacist cannot fill a US doctor's prescription just like a US Pharmacist cannot fill a Canadian doctors prescription. One way to work around that is to forward the order to some other third country where they will fill and ship the prescription.

User avatar
Fat-Tailed Contagion
Posts: 872
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:49 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Fat-Tailed Contagion » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:49 am

Check Mexico as well if you can find a mail-order business ?

The pharmacies are more abundant than convenience stores and you can buy anything without a prescription very inexpensively.

Interestingly, you can often find a physician next to the pharmacies seeing patients for 35 pesos ($2 bucks for the visit).

Anyone here have any good websites for finding quality mail-order pharmacies ?
“The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.” | ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

LifeIsGood
Posts: 683
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:43 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by LifeIsGood » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:26 am

I have been buying drugs from PlantDrugsDirect.com for the past 7 years and have been very pleased with their products and service. They are a CIPA member. The lead time between ordering and shipping can be 3 weeks some times but other than that I have no complaints.

YttriumNitrate
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by YttriumNitrate » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:34 am

deleted.
Last edited by YttriumNitrate on Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mjdaniel
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:20 pm
Location: Temecula, CA

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by mjdaniel » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:17 am

I have used this web site to compare prices among online pharmacies: http://www.pharmacychecker.com/
When my drug coverage has run out for the year, I have used this pharmacy for blood pressure medicine: https://www.canadadrugsonline.com/
The drug, called bystolic can be very expensive in the U.S. without coverage. The generic I purchased was made in India, and distributed thru a pharmacy in Singapore. The generic was fine and I have no qualms about repeating the purchase. So far, I have bought 3 90 prescriptions this way over the years.

mouses
Posts: 3811
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by mouses » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:18 am

Before I went on Medicare Plan D, I used to buy online from Granville Pharmacy in Canada. Some major news outlet had done a story on four Canadian pharmacies that a midwest state had vetted and okayed their employees buying meds from. Granville was one of them. They have the unfortunately sounding url http://www.onlinecanadianpharmacy.com

They are run by a pharmacist. They accept and require US prescriptions.

I never had the mail orders interfered with by Customs. My impression is that they have a hands off policy for people buying for personal use.

Like the OP, my prescription bills have exploded this year. AARP changed its tier 4 from $95 copay to 50%, at the same time that BigPharma, especially Takeda in my case, jacked up the prices of some meds I take by hundreds of dollars. Note that these are meds that have been around for a long time, so it is just incredible price gouging.

I looked at blink a few days ago, but the savings was quite small.

Time to check the Granville website again, for me.

sk.dolcevita
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:55 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sk.dolcevita » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:28 pm

Thank you for your input and suggestions. I have decided to go ahead and give this a try through planetdrugsdirect.com.

I will report back on my experience in few months. I am looking forward to getting this working smoothly for our pharmacy needs.

Next related project: if and when the need arises, to go across the border to El Paso for major dental work as well as buy several pairs of eyeglasses (https://news.yahoo.com/facing-rising-de ... 18368.html).

StoneyCWI
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:46 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by StoneyCWI » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:32 pm

I switched to a Canadian Pharmacy when my local started requiring a scrip for the Vitamin B12 shots I hve to take every 2 weeks...and tripled the price and would only give me 1cc at a time...

Canadian price for 10 cc is same as local pharmacy for 1c before price gouge!

My wife had a heart attack and is on a new drug that costs $500 monthly USD...I get the EXACT SAME DRUG for $90 USD Monthly from same Canadian Pharmacy and it is same drug from same maker (in USA BTW)...

Never an issue with Customs either!

User avatar
midareff
Posts: 5793
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by midareff » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:05 pm

I started to use Canadian Western Pharmacy at the recommendation of my PCP. Blue pills only... $20 each vs. 93 cents. Lamar Odum might have some comments as well.

Oliver
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:49 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Oliver » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:04 pm

I have used https://www.canadadrugs.com/about . They were mentioned in some articles a number of years ago. I would not hesitate to recommend them. They will require you to fax them your prescription.

If your prescription cost is really out of control, I would check what the maximum out of pocket cost with your insurance. If you will exceed the max out of pocket, I would look at the total annual cost buying from a domestic pharmacy.

Oliver
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:49 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Oliver » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:13 pm

StoneyCWI wrote:I switched to a Canadian Pharmacy when my local started requiring a scrip for the Vitamin B12 shots I hve to take every 2 weeks...and tripled the price and would only give me 1cc at a time...

Canadian price for 10 cc is same as local pharmacy for 1c before price gouge!

My wife had a heart attack and is on a new drug that costs $500 monthly USD...I get the EXACT SAME DRUG for $90 USD Monthly from same Canadian Pharmacy and it is same drug from same maker (in USA BTW)...

Never an issue with Customs either!
[Medical advice removed by admin LadyGeek]

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 48547
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:11 pm

I removed a post giving medical advice. From: Re: How to deal with dentist phobia, here's why:

1. This is an anonymous internet forum. It is not possible to verify anyone's identity (nor do we want to). Credentials also imply accurate advice, which may not always be the case.
2. There can be disagreement among experts, which can be harmful if someone is basing a medical decision on the advice. I left a few posts to show this example.
3. A member's description may be incomplete.
4. Readers will misinterpret the member's description.
5. Readers will misinterpret the given advice.

Since real harm can be done, we do not permit medical advice and is the reason for the first sentence in: Medical Issues
Questions on medical issues are beyond the scope of the forum. If you are looking for medical information online, I'd like to suggest you start with the Medical Library Association's User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web which, in addition to providing guidance on evaluating health information, includes lists of their top recommended sites in the following categories: consumer health, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. They also provide a larger, but less frequently updated, list called Top 100 List: Health Websites You Can Trust.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 3437
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:08 pm

I got a mailout from one of these types of places the other day, fishing for my prescription business. It included a long list of their supposed "money-saving generics". Since I take fexofenadine (Allegra generic) daily, I checked their list for that. I saw that they listed the "US retail price" of the drug at $162 for a ninety-day supply, and their "money-saving generic" at $60. Thing is, Walgreens here in my town as 180-count generic across the counter for $29. So just how in the world are they saving me money?

Caveat Emptor.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

User avatar
Shackleton
Posts: 301
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:20 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Shackleton » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:44 pm

I have used NorthwestPharmacy.com for the last year for a prescription from my cardiologist (he recommended this Canadian pharmacy, and it does have all the certifications/affiliations that one would expect.) It is off-label use, so my insurance won't cover it. I get the generic for a cost of $56/100 pills (50 day supply.) The cost would be > $500/month if I went with the name brand from a US pharmacy. The prescription must be filled and mailed from Mauritius so it takes about 2-3 weeks to fill the order which is only a problem if I forget to get a refill. Northwest Pharmacy has a reminder program which I just started using so hopefully that won't be a problem. The drug I'm getting is definitely working/quality. I was on samples of the name brand for 2 months before I got the overseas Rx filled and there was difference when I switched from one to the other.
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton

blennkins90
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:42 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by blennkins90 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:28 am

This site does in depth and well-researched reviews of different pharmacies http://phrmreviews.com/r/canadian-pharm ... -new-level and is pretty accurate. I used it before when I was looking to order some of my meds with success.

Leesbro63
Posts: 5511
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:38 am

I was under the impression that it's illegal to buy Rx drugs from other countries. If not, why aren't they bombarding us with ads for cheaper meds?

Valuethinker
Posts: 36322
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:22 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:I was under the impression that it's illegal to buy Rx drugs from other countries. If not, why aren't they bombarding us with ads for cheaper meds?

If they did, I suspect the drug companies or the distributors would cut them off.

Grey market is a funny old world. The drug companies will tolerate it as long as they don't think they are losing too much revenue. The tradeoff might be to withdraw the formulation from the Canadian or Mexican market, and lose that, vs. higher revenues in the US market.

Generics are unbelievably cheap in India, I gather.

sevenseas
Posts: 178
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 8:44 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sevenseas » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:52 pm

I've been buying my cat's asthma medication (it's an inhaled corticosteroid for humans, used off label for felines) from canadadrugs.com for a year or so now. This saves me about $400/year.

The meds were previously shipped from the Caribbean (Barbados if I recall correctly)...shipping times were long (up to a month), and in one instance, my shipment was confiscated at the border and denied entry. In that instance, they reshipped from the UK with free expedited delivery, which I received in less than a week.

Now my shipments come consistently from the British pharmacy so shipping times are faster (1-2 weeks). Have been very happy with the service overall (customer service and pharmacists are always very responsive, polite, friendly and helpful) and most of all with the cost savings.

Edit: sorry, just realized the original post was from a year ago!

Nate79
Posts: 3577
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Nate79 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:14 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:I was under the impression that it's illegal to buy Rx drugs from other countries. If not, why aren't they bombarding us with ads for cheaper meds?
Yes it is unequivocally illegal to import drugs from overseas into the US. Quite interesting that the mods are allowing the thread to continue huh?

Of course it happens all the time. The FDA and customs look the other way but it doesn't make it legal.

FDA:

https://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparen ... 194904.htm

sawhorse
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sawhorse » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:38 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Leesbro63 wrote:I was under the impression that it's illegal to buy Rx drugs from other countries. If not, why aren't they bombarding us with ads for cheaper meds?
Yes it is unequivocally illegal to import drugs from overseas into the US. Quite interesting that the mods are allowing the thread to continue huh?

Of course it happens all the time. The FDA and customs look the other way but it doesn't make it legal.

FDA:

https://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparen ... 194904.htm
This link is about drugs that are approved in other countries but not in the US. The thread is about a drug available in both places.

This FDA page says that it "recommends only obtaining medicines from legal sources in the U.S.".
https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm170594.htm

The Department of Homeland Security says that for travelers, the requirements are that you have a valid US prescription for controlled substances.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-medi ... escription

As per official DHS policy, mail order prescriptions of non controlled substances from Canada are allowed to pass customs if it's no more than a 90 day supply. Bill Nelson is the senator behind that if you want to read up on it.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 48547
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Nate79 wrote:Quite interesting that the mods are allowing the thread to continue huh?
No, we just missed it. If anyone sees something wrong, please report the post using the "!" in the top right corner of the post and explain why. We'll get to it a lot sooner than finding it on our own. (The explanations are also helpful, thanks.)

Discussions of dishonest behavior and bypassing the law it totally unacceptable.

As explained in the previous post, the OP is looking for a legal solution. In this case, the discussion can continue.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

sawhorse
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sawhorse » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:14 pm

H.R. 5441, Section 535, which was signed by President George W. Bush and has not been rescinded, says you're allowed to import from Canada only up to a 90 day supply of a non-controlled substance. The DHS has confirmed that this also applies to mail order.
Last edited by sawhorse on Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sawhorse
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by sawhorse » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:29 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:I got a mailout from one of these types of places the other day, fishing for my prescription business. It included a long list of their supposed "money-saving generics". Since I take fexofenadine (Allegra generic) daily, I checked their list for that. I saw that they listed the "US retail price" of the drug at $162 for a ninety-day supply, and their "money-saving generic" at $60. Thing is, Walgreens here in my town as 180-count generic across the counter for $29. So just how in the world are they saving me money?

Caveat Emptor.
I saw the same with one of my former medications that was on the Walmart $4 list. It was around $50 before shipping if I were to get it abroad.

Ibuprofen for example is really expensive in some European countries, and people there order it from the US.

Beck49
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:15 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by Beck49 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:49 pm

+1 Northwest Pharmacies. Good service, good prices. I was skeptical at first, but it worked out fine.

white_water
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by white_water » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: source of drugs ordered from Canadian pharmacies.

Canadian pharma have drop shipped our meds from Australia and the UK. Savings is considerable. My wife's internist suggested we use XXX pharmacy in Canada due to the cost difference.

AntonyTalor
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:33 am

Re: Using Canadian Pharmacies

Post by AntonyTalor » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:38 am

I can't find exact information in the internet. Can pharmacies bill insurance company directly for the purchase? Some people say they can, other say reverse. Please, share your experience.

Post Reply