Is It Illegal to Buy Medicine from Canada?

Trying to save on the costs of prescription medicines is a challenge that many people face. Buying medicines from Canada is a way to save money, but is it illegal to buy medicine from Canada? The savings can equal hundreds of dollars for Americans when buying from licensed, online pharmacies in Canada if you do a little research before making your purchase.

What to Know
The official answer to whether or not it is legal to buy Canadian medications through an online pharmacy and have them shipped into the United States is no, it isn’t legal. The reality is that most enforcement agencies are willing to allow American citizen to order several months worth of medications as long as the prescriptions aren’t highly controlled within the United States. For example, most enforcement agencies will allow you to order several months worth of cholesterol controlling medications, but don’t allow prescription narcotics (controlled substances) to be shipped across the border.

The official stance of the federal agency in charge of regulating incoming prescription medications and enforcing the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987 is that a three month supply of most medications can be shipped into the country and the agency will not take any action. The limited resources and manpower available to the agency make controlling small shipments of medications for personal use very challenging, which has resulted in this look-the-other-way policy. The FDA currently uses the resources available to control large, unauthorized shipments of medications that enter the country rather than small, personal shipments of medications.

Ordering Online
If you have been wondering is it illegal to buy medicine from Canada, you have also considered the benefits of ordering your medications from an international pharmacy. Prescription medications from Canada are the same quality as those from America, but cost significantly less than buying from a local American pharmacy. Canadian pharmacies that ship into the United States are also willing to resend any rejected packages that are returned by the customs agents in the states. With 99% of medications reaching the customer without any problems, this occurrence is very rare.

Ordering online is convenient and safe when buying from a reliable pharmacy. Canadian prescription medications are regulated for consistent quality, just as American pharmacies, making them a much safer alternative then ordering from some other international locations. Look for a pharmacy that is licensed and that has an address in Canada to get the best medications for your money. Some Canadian pharmacies will require you send in a written prescription for your medications before shipping your order. If you spend a lot of money on medicines each month, this simple step can save you money on your medications month after month.

Saving on Medicines
The comparisons between Canadian and American pharmacies are shocking to those taking prescription medications. A standard one month supply of Tamoxifen, a drug that is used to treat cancer, is nearly three hundred dollars in America, but less than fifty dollars when purchased from a Canadian pharmacy online. Most Canadian pharmacies offer expedited shipping options and free shipping options in addition to charging much less for medications, allowing you to save even more on your prescriptions each month. When wondering is it illegal to buy medicine from Canada, the answer is that you can easily buy your medicines for less without worry about being prosecuted.

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About this Angie’s List Expert: Cary Byrd is the president and founder of eDrugSearch.com. Based in San Antonio, eDrugSearch.com is a free cost comparison engine that helps consumers get safe access to affordable medications and advocates licensed online pharmacies as a widely accepted alternative. 

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