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The information provided on Ask PharmacyChecker is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it an endorsement of any product or service.
If you are considering purchasing medication from outside the U.S., be aware that, in most circumstances, it is technically not legal for individuals to import prescription drugs; however, U.S. government officials have stated that individuals who order non-controlled prescription drugs from Canada or other foreign sources (up to a three-month supply) for their own use are not being pursued or prosecuted.
Can U.S. doctors and pharmacies send or transfer prescriptions to Canada?
Yes, doctors in the U.S. can and do send prescriptions to Canadian pharmacies.
Canadian provinces require that pharmacies dispense medications pursuant to a valid prescription authorized by a Canadian practitioner. Therefore, U.S. prescriptions received by a Canadian pharmacy must be approved by a Canadian physician, who issues a Canadian prescription, prior to it being filled. This practice is often referred to as cosigning. We view the cosigning process as an additional review of the patient's health profile by a licensed practitioner to determine the suitability of the recommended treatment.
To be clear, a patient or doctor in the U.S. only has to send a prescription. You do not need to worry about finding a Canadian practitioner. The pharmacy will take care of the approval process from there.
Transferring Prescriptions from U.S. Pharmacies to Canadian Pharmacies
Generally, U.S. pharmacies will not transfer your prescription to a Canadian pharmacy. If you decide to buy a medication from a pharmacy in Canada and you have a prescription with a U.S. pharmacy, you'll most likely need to request a new prescription from your provider.
Canadian Prescription Transfer Regulations
Canadian pharmacies are generally not permitted to accept prescription transfers from U.S. pharmacies. Canadian provinces require that pharmacies dispense medications pursuant to a valid prescription authorized by a Canadian practitioner. Therefore, U.S. prescriptions received by a Canadian pharmacy must be approved by a Canadian physician prior to being filled. This requires that the pharmacy receive a health history survey and an original signed prescription, which can be faxed by your doctor or mailed—either by yourself or your doctor on your behalf. Additionally, a licensed pharmacy can work directly with your doctor to facilitate the receipt of the prescription and/or arrange refills when necessary.
U.S. Prescription Transfer Regulations
Based on various state regulations within the U.S. — although U.S. pharmacies are permitted to transfer prescriptions, including refills, for non-controlled drugs under certain circumstances—transferring prescriptions to foreign pharmacies may not be permitted.
Finally, even though many states have not explicitly banned transferring U.S. prescriptions to non-U.S. pharmacies, pharmacists may be reluctant to do so because in most cases it remains technically illegal under U.S. federal law to import medication for personal use.
Interestingly, Texas pharmacists are expressly permitted to fill prescriptions written by Canadian or Mexican Practitioners for non-controlled substances; however, pharmacies are only permitted to transfer authorized refills for those prescription between Texan pharmacies.
Americans Can Order Prescription Medications from Canadian Online Pharmacies
Millions of Americans have ordered medication from Canada, even though it's technically prohibited. That's because it's legal in Canada for licensed pharmacies, meeting the laws of their providences, to dispensed prescription drugs to Americans.
We recommend that you stick to PharmacyChecker-verified Canadian online pharmacies. Patients use PharmacyChecker.com to compare prices among verified pharmacies. Many people that use our comparison tool find their medications at over an 80% discount vs. the prices they see at their local CVS or Walgreens.
Please know that many Canadian online pharmacies fill your orders with pharmacies outside of Canada. For those that are in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, the partner pharmacies (not just the ones in Canada) are also verified by PharmacyChecker.
Local U.S. Pharmacy Savings
Some folks are wary of shopping for their meds online. If you prefer to shop at your local U.S. pharmacy, just scroll to the bottom of your chosen medication's price comparison page. Enter your ZIP Code to find the discounts available in your area. When you choose a pharmacy, click "Print Card for This Pharmacy" and you are all set.
We also offer a search tool for patient assistance programs. Many pharmaceutical companies offer aid with the cost of medications through patient assistance programs.