Many U.S. residents now order their prescription drugs online from Canadian pharmacies. The number of prescriptions filled this way had increased steadily for about 5 years but over the last couple of years has decreased somewhat. Many people find that purchasing prescription drugs online has certain advantages. Some of the potential benefits are: ease of price comparison between various pharmacies, cost savings, privacy protection, and convenience if you do not have a retail pharmacy close to you or if there are physical limitations which make it difficult to visit a community pharmacy. All therapeutic classes of drugs are available online: medications for depression, pain medications, drugs to treat high blood pressure and more. There are dozens of legitimate online pharmacies located in the U.S. and Canada that can safely fill your prescriptions, usually at a real cost savings. Many U.S. residents are pleasantly surprised when they find that they can often save hundreds of dollars every year just by ordering their drugs online.
Sometimes when you hear someone talk about an online pharmacy what they actually are referring to are the large mail order pharmacies that many employers now force their employees to use. But what we mean by online pharmacy is the type that anyone interested in saving money can use to buy their prescription drugs. This type of independent online pharmacy will treat you as a real customer and patient not just another number. Most of the U.S. based online pharmacies are also able to bill your insurance programs if you have that type of coverage. Easy internet based ordering and rapid home delivery make this online route a good alternative for many people!
Most U.S. residents will probably need to use a Canadian pharmacy if they really want to save a significant amount on their prescription costs. If you live close enough to Canada you can even do this in person. This is what many people living in border states do (this also pertains somewhat to Mexico but is beyond the topic of this article). The reason that Canadian drugs can cost substantially less is because drug companies often sell their products to pharmacies and pharmacy wholesalers in other countries for much less than in the U.S. In many cases the foreign pharmacy will pay 1/10 what a U.S. pharmacy would pay for the exact same drug.
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The cost to Canadian pharmacies is not always this low and may certainly be higher than a pharmacy in a third world country would pay.
While it is technically illegal to bring (import) drugs into the U.S. from Canada or any other foreign country, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not appear to be concerned about certain types of prescription drugs being ordered online therefore U.S. Customs usually will not bother shipments of drugs coming from Canada as long as the drug shipped is: for personal use, not a controlled substance and would typically be considered no more than a 90 day supply. Prescriptions meeting these general criteria have been essentially left alone since October 9th 2006 as part of a specific policy decision of the government. In reality it has been found to be very unlikely that a shipment of drugs from an online Canadian pharmacy would be bothered although shipments of prescriptions from any other country run a very high risk of being seized! Customs officials seem to be more concerned about randomly looking for shipments from Canada that may contain counterfeit drugs or medications with unapproved, ineffective or potentially dangerous ingredients.
You need to make sure that the prescription drug you get is actually being shipped from a licensed Canadian pharmacy and that the pharmacy you are dealing with is not an intermediary for some distant foreign pharmacy in which case the drugs may certainly be of questionable quality. You can ask for the credentials of the pharmacy and should expect them to answer any and all questions that you have. If anything about their business makes you uncomfortable then look elsewhere!