Canadian consumers and the Canadian federal government approach the production and distribution of prescription medications in a different way than Americans. Canadian pharmaceutical companies are subject to strict guidelines that determine pricing for prescription drugs; they are essentially required to sell medications for a fair and reasonable price.
How does the Canadian government regulate the cost and production of prescription medications?
When asking the question Why is medicine cheaper in Canada? it is necessary to take into account the role of the federal government in the Canadian health care system. To protect Canadian consumers, the government has established an organization known as the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). The PMPRB was created specifically to regulate prescription drug prices. Before a new prescription drug becomes available to the public, the PMPRB compares the new drug with seven other comparable medications. The cost of these seven drugs is averaged to determine the price at which the new drug can be sold. On average, this price falls 5% below the international median cost of the medication.
In addition to controlling the pricing of prescription medications, the Canadian government has banned advertising by prescription drug companies. This means that consumers in Canada experience little to no exposure to name brand medications. This has a twofold effect on the price of prescription drugs in Canada: consumers are more likely to choose the cheaper generic version of medications and, since they are not spending money on advertising, pharmaceutical companies are able to charge less for their products.
Another government regulation that enables prescription drugs to be priced lower in Canada relates to the approach to patents. In Canada, pharmaceutical companies do not need to wait for a patent to expire on a name brand drug before they begin to produce a generic version of it. This allows companies to quickly create generic brands that can then be put on the market at a cheaper price.
How does Canada’s health care system affect the price of prescription drugs?
The Canadian health care system allows consumers to be reimbursed for the cost of many prescription medications. The drugs that are eligible for reimbursement are typically the cheaper generic versions of more expensive brands. Since most Canadians will choose to buy prescription drugs that they know will be reimbursed, there is virtually no market for expensive brand name drugs in Canada.
How does the exchange rate between American and Canadian currency affect the price of prescription drugs?
Why is medicine cheaper in Canada? Well, since the U.S. dollar is worth more than the Canadian dollar, Canadian products are cheaper for Americans to buy. The exchange rate even applies when purchasing Canadian products online; this means that Americans can buy already low-priced Canadian prescription medications for even less money than consumers using Canadian dollars.
How can I legally purchase prescription medications from Canada?
By using the website eDrugSearch.com. eDrugsearch makes it possible to safely compare prescription drug prices of various prescriptions available from licensed Canadian pharmacies. This service is free and easy to use.
- a safe, legal way to purchase prescription drugs from international pharmacies
- a free cost-comparison search engine specifically designed for Americans looking to purchase prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies
- a guarantee that each pharmacy represented on the site has undergone a rigorous screening test; this process requires pharmacies to provide proof of government licensing from the country in which they are based and documentation of any third party accreditation
- the most current, up to date prices for prescription drugs
- detailed information about every medication offered on the website
In order to purchase medications online from these pharmacies, it is necessary to have a prescription from a licensed doctor.
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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