Yes and No. Buying prescription drugs from Canada has been a popular practice among American citizens. The appeal is simple – drugs in Canada are cheaper and one can save a lot if one buys from that country. With more and more online pharmacies coming up in Canada, U.S. people prefer buying from online Canadian Pharmacies. But the question is – how safe it is to buy prescription drugs from Canada? To find an answer, we need to analyze a few factors:
Why Canada for medications? The reasons are pretty simple. First reason, drugs are cheaper. Second, Canada is nearby and hence shipping is easier. Third, unlike other overseas countries or countries like Mexico (where drugstores are not regularized), in Canada, pharmacies are regulated by government authorities and boards.
Drug costs in Canada: Drug costs in Canada are about 25% cheaper than in the U.S. This is the case with regard to prescription drugs, especially. Though generic drugs are cheaper in the U.S., the prices of prescription drugs are skyrocketing. The AARP reported on a Canada drug survey conducted by Senator Charler E. Schumer in New York’s Buffalo region. The pharmacies in the region showed different costs on prescription drugs depending on whether they were filled in Canada or the United States. It was found out that a Buffalo resident who purchased the arthritis drug Celebrex in Canada saved $671 a year than the ones who purchased the same drug in the U.S.. Imagine how much people could save if such prescription drugs were bought from online pharmacies, instead of brick and mortar pharmacies.
FDA’s warnings on drugs: Though the above survey is heart-warming, there is another incident which creates bad impression about Canada. The FDA conducted ‘Operation Bait and Switch’ in August 2005 in three U.S. Airports and found out around 1700 mail parcels ordered from a pharmacy in Canada. The FDA discovered that only 15 percent of the parcels were manufactured in Canada while the rest were imported from India, Israel, Costa Rica and 27 different countries. Also, many of the drugs were not labeled in English and 32 percent of them were counterfeit. This alarming investigation threw light on so many things - a study concerning Canadian Online pharmacies revealed that many such pharmacies were actually hosted by companies in the U.S., but registered to companies or individuals in Canada. After this incident, the FDA is taking measures to regulate pharmacies in the U.S. and abolish all pharmacies that import drugs from Canada for sale in the country.
The Canada Appeal – To buy or not to buy? The FDA says, better to buy in the U.S. as the NABP and the FDA operate as a close knit unit in the U.S., controlling and monitoring all licensed pharmacies. There are certain concerns about imported drugs from Canada. They are
1.Drugs may have no quality assurance
2.Drugs maybe counterfeit
3.Drugs lack information or have information in languages other than English
4.Drugs may have to be used only under medical supervision
5.Some drugs may contain harmful substances
6.Drugs maybe expired, contaminated, sub or super-potent.
However, you can buy from Canadian Online pharmacies that have license from their country authorities or regulatory bodies. Though the FDA warns against imported drugs, they do not question the authenticity of brand-name drugs. So, it is better to buy brand-name prescription drugs from Canada and generic drugs from the U.S. (as it is cheaper here).