My Canadian pharmacy story
My Canadian pharmacy experience; my story to date has been a positive one. I hope this review may help you with your search for prescriptions from a Canadian online pharmacy. Sorry for the length of this article regarding prescriptions from Canada, there is just a lot of information to cover!
I lost my health insurance after taking advantage of the COBRA extension of my former employer's health insurance plan. I have applied twice for medical insurance, and even considered AARP insurance packages, but have had no luck. As a result, I have just begun purchasing my prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy. These Canadian Internet pharmacies are offering very substantial discounts off any price I could find at my local pharmacies or any U.S. mail order pharmacy. Additionally one of the medications I take is available as a generic drug in a Canada pharmacy, but is not yet available as a generic drug in the US. This makes this drug substantially cheaper from pharmacies in Canada.
If you find this article useful please consider supporting BobsHowTo by making your first purchase through this link: Canada Pharmacy Thanks! Bob.
Merck now offers a discount for any of their products for anyone who has no prescription insurance. You can still have health insurance, just no form of prescription insurance. I don't know how this applies to the "doughnut hole", seems to me you are not insured when you are in the doughnut hole.
My Ultimate Choice of pharmacies
After my review of numerous possible Canadian pharmacies, my ultimate choice for prescriptions from Canada was Canada Pharmacy on the Internet. To make this evaluation I did look at quite a few possibilities. I thought I would try to document my experiences locating, and efforts to choose, a Canadian pharmacy.
Sample Canadian pharmacy delivery photos
Photos showing delivery packaging for a typical delivery of medications from a Canadian pharmacy. Link to photos.
My former health insurance prescription drug program
My former health insurance plan included prescription drugs with a Co-pay of typically $15.00 per 30 day prescription, this added up to at least 5 Co-pays per month or $75 just for the co-payment. Unfortunately I am stuck taking quite a few prescriptions even though I consider myself fairly healthy. I still bump ski in the winter and do a lot of hard physical labor in the summer.
But also I have Low Tension Glaucoma. A disease with no known cause that causes slow loss of peripheral vision. To prevent additional vision loss I currently take the strongest prescription medication regimen possible for this affliction. This consists of 3 separate drops or medications which I take daily. These medications are expensive! I also have the good fortune of having inherited some genetic tendencies which many people have, so I have prescriptions for these conditions as well. This is preventative medicine and should reduce my medical outlays in the long run.
I was worried about shipping my eye medication, especially from a Canadian Pharmacy, due to manufacturer temperature control constraints.
My eye drops have storage temperature constraints. When I traveled I use to make sure I took a "cool sack" of some kind to keep the temperature that these drugs were exposed to below the manufacturer's specified limit. When I first started to consider a Canadian pharmacy I was concerned about shipping these medications through long distances. Location was a concern, so at first I was looking in Canadian Provinces near North Eastern United States where I live, probably Quebec or Ontario, perhaps Manitoba. Here is the Canadian Government's list: http://canada.gc.ca/othergov-autregouv/prov-eng.html
Only some of the Canadian Provinces can ship prescription medications to the United States.
I immediately learned some Eastern Canadian provinces have laws against shipping prescription medications to the U.S. They can only ship to Canadian Citizens visiting the U.S. This meant my medications would have to be shipped quite a distance and might not meet the temperature constraints.
I have since communicated with the manufacturers of my medications and found these constraints must only be met for the maximum shelf life which can be more than a year. I use these medications up in a month or two. So it turns out they can get very warm over short periods and still retain their efficacy! This is important to know if you are going select, and mail order, your medications from pharmacies in Canada. Here is the context of a letter from Allergan Customer Support: (www.Allergan.com)
Dear Mr. Matheson:
Thank you for contacting Allergan regarding ALPHAGAN P(brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution) 0.15%. I understand you would like high-temperature stability information on ALPHAGAN P. The storage statement listed in the current ALPHAGAN P package insert, "Store between 15º-25ºC (59-77ºF)", means that if stored at 15º-25ºC, product will be stable (effective and safe to use) until the expiration date listed on both the product container and carton. All of our newer products (like ALPHAGAN P) must also pass stability testing at 30ºC (86ºF) for one year and 40ºC (104ºF) for 6 months, and all of our products have been tested at 40ºC (104ºF) for at least three months. Additionally, all of our products must remain stable after 3 freeze-thaw cycles. If the product doesn't match each of these specifications, the storage statement in the product package insert will reflect any required limitations to storage. If you have any additional questions, comments, or we can be of further assistance to you, please contact Scientific Information at 1-800-433-8871, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Scientific Information and Medical Compliance
Attachment: ALPHAGAN P(brimonidine tartrate 0.15%) ophthalmic solution
Some medications do require refrigeration. I used to take Xalatan, now I take Travatan drops in its place. Xalatan must be refrigerated. I cannot offer any information in overcoming the refrigeration problem if ordering prescriptions from Canada.
It seems Alphagan-P is not available in Canada, at least when I last checked. I have used Alphagan and Alphagan-P. Alphagan-P had been reformulated to address certain sensitivities that apparently a small number of people have had. Since I had no problem in the past with Alphagan, my doctor had no problem prescribing Alphagan.
When evaluating my Canadian pharmacy I obviously had to consider availability. I currently take Cosopt, Alphagan, and Travatan for my Low Tension Glaucoma, also Hyzaar, and Zocor. Zocor is a generic in Canada and is a lot cheaper. All these medications are readily available at excellent prices. You must search for the generic name if you want the generic, and of course, the best price. Zocor is really Simvastatin, search for the generic name to make sure you get the lowest price.
Shipping time not such an issue
Given that shipping time was not such an issue, I could locate a pharmacy in more Canadian provinces, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and perhaps Newfoundland and Labrador (St. Johns). Of course now there are many more pharmacies to consider; and what about shipping costs? Here is a very nice map of the provinces: Canadian Provinces Government Map
U.S. Discount Pharmacies vs. Canadian
I found U.S. mail order pharmacies did offer a saving over my local drug store, but when I started comparing prices with Canadian Pharmacies, the Canadian prices were 30 to 50% lower. There simply is no justification for not buying prescriptions from Canada. Sorry I did not take the time to investigate Mexican pharmacies, so I can't help you there. An online U.S. pharmacy I have dealt with that has competitive prices (for the U.S. anyway) is: drugstore.com Outlet: Save up to 60% on hundreds of products! They would automatically relay my prescription refills to my local pharmacy and would send email when refills were required. This was very convenient.
To select a pharmacy in Canada, my experience
There are some businesses here in the U.S. that will take care of forwarding your prescriptions to Canada for you, so you are dealing with a U.S. company. But they usually charge an additional annual fee, they do however, typically provide you with lower cost drugs than you can find anywhere in the U.S. In my case I felt more comfortable dealing directly with a Canadian pharmacy thereby cutting out a middle man. What I wanted to do was deal directly with a pharmacy but in many cases you are really dealing with a business that might be purchasing from several Canadian pharmacies. I was not comfortable with that either. But what I found is most legitimate Canadian pharmacies do have a separate business entity for dealing with the Internet and shipments to the U.S., this I could live with.
My Canadian Pharmacy selection
I ultimately chose Newton Pharmacy represented by Canada Pharmacy on the Internet. They are in British Columbia the other side of the U.S. continent from me! I have received my first shipment and am completely satisfied. I have subsequently had a blood test indicating at least the Canadian prescription medications are just as effective and in fact this particular generic is still made by the same manufacturing company although the pill looks different and so does the packaging. Price in the U.S. at least $190 in Canada $100! All prices are quoted in U.S. funds making it easy to compare prices between this Canadian pharmacy and its US counterparts.
I was adding status updates to this page but thought it might be better to create another page dedicated exclusively to the status of my experience with pharmacies in Canada. Read Status
The prescriptions your doctor writes.
Make sure your doctor writes 90 day prescriptions with 3 refills and he should use the generic name for the medication not the trademark unless this is a requirement in your case. My doctors had no problem writing all new prescriptions meeting these requirements. I let them know I was ordering from a Canadian pharmacy.
The paper work
Once I placed my order for my prescriptions all I had to do was Fax my ID and prescriptions to the pharmacy. A drivers license works, I used my passport for identification. I am lucky to have a scanner for my computer, making this chore very easy. Paper work wise it seemed like Canada Pharmacy was the easiest. They accepted the faxes and did not need the originals, plus there really was not a complex sign up procedure.
Update: Canada Pharmacy now requires the original prescription be mailed to them. Don't forget the postage to Canada from the US is $0.72, 72 cents for a letter (www.usps.com Make sure you enter a 1 ounce letter to Canada or you will have trouble finding the rate!). Oddly enough I believe Google forced this requirement upon Canadian pharmacies! To advertise medications using Google's Adwords advertising system, Google mandated pharmaceutical advertisers register, and pay, a third party organization a monthly fee, AND, required pharmacies to collect original prescriptions. I am not sure America is a free country any more! From Alonzo Kittrels, Philadelphia Tribune, "Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back in the day of 1906...." . Now a days patents are given for trivial changes to drugs keeping US prices ridiculously high, so be American and shop around, competition, free trade; Oops no, we have made a law against that!
Watch the shipping costs they can add up
As I continued my review of various Canadian pharmacies I saw some pretty high shipping charges. The pharmacy I chose had some of the lowest total shipping fees but was the furthest away! All prescriptions were covered by one shipping fee.
Give these pharmacies at least 3 weeks to ship your medications and probably a little more time on your first order. My orders were delivered in a very timely manor. Also emails were provided indicating the status, and during the first order, exactly what I should do when.
If you find this article useful please consider making your first Canada Pharmacy purchase through this link:
Or call 1-800-891-0844 using Code 1307. You will support BobsHowTo at no additional cost to you. You can also "drag" the link above to your Favorites ( Bookmarks ) button, Favorites toolbar, or Links toolbar. I have been a Canada Pharmacy customer myself for four years now. I pay the same prices you will and I am completely satisfied.
Retirement Income and Retirement Planning
I am definitely in a transitional stage of my life between the corporate position, small business, and retirement. I have very few retirement benefits, so a major expense of retirement living will be purchasing these pharmaceuticals hopefully at a reasonable price. According to my retirement calculator my current retirement plan has taken these expenses into account, and it is nice to be able to cut expenses by purchasing prescriptions from Canada. One of these days my wife and I will have to consider a retirement home, then perhaps a retirement community ( Florida ?! ), followed by assisted living, and ultimately nursing home care; funds will be even tighter then, so I am hoping to be able to buy Canadian drugs for a long time. The money we save now will help support us in the future!
Government Regulation and medications from Canada
Please see my article; Canadian pharmacy law for more details on this topic.
I hope this report helps in your search for lower cost medications. Good luck (and savings) while you evaluate Canadian pharmacies! Please note that you must take responsibility for all legalities involved, I currently have no knowledge of the various laws involved and am just passing on my personal experiences. Also if I do have difficulties with Canada Pharmacy be assured I will report them here! (After 4 years, no problems!) Please do plan ahead, the prescriptions do take time for delivery! Canada pharmacy.
Copyright © 2005-2009 Robert Matheson All rights reserved.
by Bob Matheson