Over 600 prescription drug costs increased in the U.S. in 2020. Are they cheaper in Canada?

Written by Rebecca Farley | Posted marzo 30, 2020 | Updated noviembre 04, 2022

If your prescription drugs are even more expensive this year, remember this: brand name drugs are almost always much cheaper in Canada. The U.S. is notorious for high drug prices, largely because we don’t have federal regulations dedicated to keeping drugs affordable. But several other countries do, including Canada. In 2020, things are looking even more dire. More than 600 drug prices went up in 2020 already. Truvada, an already-expensive drug used to treat HIV, went up 4.8 percent. Flovent, an asthma drug, went up 3%. These percentages are not astronomical, but they are still increases on already very high drug prices. American consumers and families are hurting.

Fortunately, many drugs are cheaper in Canada, and often are the exact same drug as sold in the U.S. Canada employs a federal agency called the Patent Medicine Prices Review Board, which governs the prices of patented medication. (It does not regulate generic prices, which is why many generics are cheaper in the U.S. than in our northern neighbor.) As a result, Canadian drug prices are far lower, and you can absolutely take advantage of them. Importing your drugs from Canada for personal use is not something consumers are prevented from doing, at least in practice, despite technical federal restrictions.

Below, we assess the drugs with the highest price hikes, determining which ones will be lower-priced shipped specifically from Canada. Please note that if you are using PharmacyChecker price comparisons outside of this chart, many online pharmacies do not ship exclusively from Canada. You can inquire with your chosen pharmacy website as to the exact origin of your medication.

U.S. vs. Canada Drug Prices

Drug (generic name) Strength Quantity Average U.S. Retail Pharmacy Price Lowest Accredited Canadian Pharmacy Price Percentage Savings
Eliquis (apixaban) 5 mg 60 tablets $546.61 $127.91 76%
Jardiance (empagliflozin) 25 mg 30 tablets $586 $100.67 82%
Tradjenta (linagliptin) 5 mg 30 tablets $514.75 $93.84 *sold under the name “Trajenta” in Canada. 81%
Truvada (emtricitabine / tenofovir) 200mg/300mg 30 tablets $2,162.53 $983.74 54%
Chantix (varenicline) 1mg 60 tablets $566.38 $218.29 61%
Flovent (fluticasone propionate) 250mcg 1 diskus inhaler $323.75 $133.74 58%
Spiriva Handihaler (tiotropium bromide) 18mcg 30 capsules $532.37 $100.74 81%
Premarin (conjugated estrogens) 0.625mg 30 tablets $219.15* $27.18 87%
Xifaxan (rifaximin) 550 mg 60 tablets $2,881.79 $713.74 75%
Januvia (sitagliptin) 100 mg 100 capsules $1,851.47 $379.07 79%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. Lowest Accredited Canadian Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.

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