Ever since going on private insurance, with incredibly limited prescript
ion drug coverage, the wife and I have had to get our maintenance meds from Canada. Now that insurance has dropped our prescript
ion drug coverage altogether, the cost savings from buying Canadian are even greater. We could not be happier with the service and the meds.
First, I must credit The People's Pharmacy, Joe and Terry Graedon, as some of the most valuable info I found about
buying Canadian came from them.www.peoplespharmacy.com
For $2, they have an 8 page PDF doc called "Saving Money on Medicine", and it's very good./store.peoplespharmacy.com/guides/saving-money-on-medicine.html
For $10, you can get a CD of their radio program, broadcast #456. Also very good listening./store.peoplespharmacy.com/456-saving-money-on-medicine.html
Here's a quote from an FDA spokesman interviewed for the program.
"I don't believe we have any instances of trying to punish a patient for seeking medications."
-- Bill Hubbard, Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning, FDA
If you want to listen and call in to ask questions, free of charge, about
anything I've said here is the list of stations they are on.www.peoplespharmacy.com/radio-stations/
If you choose to buy your meds from Canada, start with pharmacychecker.com and find who has the meds you need for the cheapest price. The results get returned in a grid, and there's a column you click on called "sort by Cost Per Pill". The drugs that are the cheapest per pill, or dosage, are then displayed first.www.pharmacychecker.com
The site's search capability and results returned can be a little quirky, so if you run into any issues, just ask and I'll gladly help you out.
There's a link to the pharmacy with their logo, so click it and you are taken to the pharmacy's website. Verify that the price pharmacychecker.com cited is still the current price. Because of changing market conditions, prices could have risen.
Once you confirm the price is as pharmacychecker.com advertised, search around the pharmacy's website. Find their physical address including the province where they are located. Most of the pharmacies I've looked at have their Canadian pharmacy license number, the chief pharmacist's name, and they make the info quick and easy to find. Again, if you're not sure, ask me. I'm an IT nerd so I'm very good at hunting down information. They could be a very good pharmacy with a not so good website.
Once you know the province in which the pharmacy is located, go to the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities website, and go to the specific provincial regulatory authority.www.napra.org
Do make sure you confirm that it's a legit pharmacy through napra.org as there could be an unlicensed, unregulated pharmacy operating out there that gets picked up and listed by pharmacychecker.com
Each province regulates the pharmacies within the province, and I know that British Columbia (The College of Pharmacists of BC) and Manitoba (The Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association) have the list of licensed, regulated pharmacies available online. I suspect they all do, but you can also always call them.
Each Regulatory Authority is different, so their search capabilities are going to be different. They might or might not have the website address of the pharmacy. I know BC does not have the website address, but Manitoba has at least some of the website addresses.
One way that should be pretty quick and direct is to search for the chief pharmacist's name which should be almost unique, or a very short list, unless it happens to be Smith or Jones.
Let's use me as an example to provide more specifics. I take Asacol for UC.
At the moment, BigMountainDrugs.com has it the cheapest at 54¢ a pill--although I recently switched to generic Asacol from them and it's just under 30¢ a pill. Their address, province, license, and toll free phone number are right there and easy to find.www.bigmountaindrugs.com/aboutUs.aspx
202A, 8322-130th Street
Surrey, British Columbia
Canada V3W 8J9
Toll Free: 1.877.223.9977
ions Dispensed from Canada are Dispensed by:
Candrug License #18985
BigMountainDrugs.com is in BC so the Regulatory Authority is the The College of Pharmacists of BC.www.bcpharmacists.org/
Here is their search capability./eservices.bcpharmacists.org/psearch/
A search by name doesn't find them. However, a search by city, they are in Surrey, does return them in a list of just over 100 licensed pharmacies in Surrey.
#202 - 8322 130 St
Surrey, BC V3W 8J9
If all else fails, call the provincial Regulatory Authority and talk to a human.
Once you've validated the pharmacy is legit, place your order. You will need a doctor's prescript
ion if it's a legit pharmacy. Anyone advertising prescript
ion drugs without a prescript
ion should be a red flag to shop elsewhere.
I have been able to set up an account with the pharmacy online, and place my order. It's proved very easy with the three online Canadian pharmacies where I've shopped. They usually send an Email indicating receipt of your order along with instructions on how to proceed in getting the prescript
ion and payment to them.
I have been able to scan and Email, or fax, original paper prescript
ions. My advice is to get a paper prescript
ion from your doctor and do the same. Most Canadian pharmacies will offer to contact the doctor's office about
ion, and most doctor's offices will offer to send the prescript
ion directly to the pharmacy. I keep our doctors out of the loop that we're buying Canadian. Maybe they suspect it, but if they don't know for sure then they can't get into any awkward situations or conversations.
It's possible a doctor might pin me down and ask something like, "OK, where are you ordering your prescript
ion drugs from that we have to give you a paper script
?" Seems unlikely, but if it happens I'll say something like, "This conversation is covered by doctor-patient confidentiality, right? Because, in theory, if I were getting my prescript
ion drugs from say a place like Canada, anything I told you might be an admission of guilt that I was running afoul of U.S. laws by importing prescript
ion drugs for personal use. Again, all just in theory." At that point, I suspect, the doctor might try to talk me out of it, offer to research discounted programs through drug companies, offer to get me on a different med, etc. Or, maybe the doctor will ask what research I've done to ensure I'm getting the meds from a legit pharmacy. They might even ask to see the meds. Thus far, hasn't happened, but if push comes to shove I'd be honest with them.
On payment, it's probably best to avoid using a credit card or debit card. Because you're buying from a foreign country, cards can rack up a bunch of fees in the exchange rates of currency. A good old fashioned paper check, either scanned and Emailed or faxed, has worked well for me. You usually write it for the amount you owe, and they will process it electronically. None has insisted that I send the actual paper check for them to process.
Another great way to pay is through eBillMe.com which is totally free to use. Just select eBillMe as the payment option, and you will get an Email from eBillMe with all the details. Basically, you set up eBillMe as a payee in your bank's bill pay system, and eBillMe gives you the dollar amount you owe along with your eBillMe customer ID number. It's a little counter intuitive, but you don't get an eBillMe customer number until you place an order for the first time selecting eBillMe as the payment method. Once you get it setup, it's connected to your Email address, and future payments are very easy.
Finally, Canada does not allow for the repackaging of drugs, as is allowed here in the U.S., so you will likely get your meds exactly as they come from the drug maker in foil sealed blister packs, and perhaps in a glued shut, sealed box.