5 Secrets About Canadian Online Pharmacies

Written by Rebecca Farley | Reviewed by a licensed U.S. pharmacist | Posted enero 08, 2021

“Canadian online pharmacies” has the ring of something that probably doesn’t exist, maybe because “Canada” can also be the home of invisible girlfriends and spammers in your inbox. Here at PharmacyChecker, though, we work intimately with Canadian online pharmacies to ensure American consumers can take advantage of Canadian prescription drug prices safely. To us, Canadian online pharmacies are no more mysterious than our local small-town pharmacy. Normal and low-cost? Now, that’s a business you’re going to want to get to know. Ahead, five secrets about Canadian pharmacies that are definitely worth sharing — pass it on! 

1. Drugs sold at Canadian online pharmacies are frequently made in the same locations as U.S.-sold drugs. 

The FDA does not require drugs sold in the U.S. to wear their manufacturing location on their sleeve. Too often, you have to track down the location yourself by getting a company representative on the phone. Then, when you do get the information, often you’ll find that the drug isn’t made in the United States. For example, U.S.-sold Jardiance, a common diabetes medication, is made in Italy. Canadian online pharmacies — ones accredited by PharmacyChecker, at least — must disclose where your medication is manufactured and where the dispensing pharmacy is located. Not every pharmacy that markets itself as “Canadian” is located in Canada; many have dispensing pharmacies located across the globe.

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2. They have a very similar inspection process.

Provincial departments manage their local pharmacies in Canada much like state boards of pharmacies in the United States. Canada relies on nationwide regulation of medication via Health Canada the same way the U.S. relies on the Food and Drug Administration. A 2003 investigative report found that evaluation systems used in Canada rivaled that of Illinois. The report concludes: 

The provincial regulatory systems in Manitoba and Ontario provide substantially equivalent protection for the health and safety of the public as is provided for in the State of Illinois.

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3. Canadian pharmacies require prescriptions.

Yes! Canadian pharmacies are just like us: They require documentation that a doctor has decided you need this medication. How can you tell if a Canadian online pharmacy is fake? Well, for starters, if the website doesn’t ask for a prescription, the pharmacy is absolutely up to no good. 

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4. They can be safer than U.S. pharmacies. 

Even safer than U.S. pharmacies? How could that be? Canadian pharmacies frequently dispense medication in blister packs, not loosely, as U.S. pharmacies do. Blister packs are safer than loose pills in bottles because they reduce the risk of human error in pharmacy dispensing. The FDA even agrees with this: In a 2016 report, the agency declared that “thoughtful use of unit-of-use container closures (e.g., blister packaging, calendar packaging, sachets, and pouches) that can be dispensed intact to patients may help to reduce medication errors.” Some research also indicates that blister packs encourage patient adherence

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5. They sell drugs at lower prices than pharmacies in the U.S. do, but many countries across the world carry even cheaper prescription drugs.

Canada is not the be-all-end-all of prescription drug imports. On the contrary, Canada is just the beginning. Our northern neighbors are actually the country with the fourth-highest drug prices in the world, according to research from the Commonwealth Fund. The U.S. has the highest drug prices, naturally, with Switzerland just behind us. Then, Canada takes up spot number four, with Germany barely taking the lead. Online pharmacies in Turkey, India, and Australia have even lower drug prices than those in Canada. When you are ready to dip your toe into international pharmacies, there’s a whole world of low prices — not just one country.

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Compare drug prices among reputable online pharmacies

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