Why are hundreds of thousands of Americans turning to Canadian mail order pharmacies for their prescription medicine? Why are many seniors even going so far as taking a bus to Canada to buy their medication there? What are the implications for the American market? In what follows we will attempt to provide answers to these and other questions.
The United States is the only major industrialized country that does not have any measures in place to control the price of medicine. There are no maximum profit margins and there are no maximum prices either. This has led to a situation where American medicines are up to three times more expensive than their Canadian counterparts.
It comes as no surprise that many Americans want to buy cheaper medicines across the border. There are even regular bus services between the USA and Canada specifically aimed at people who want to travel to Canada to buy cheap medicine.
For anyone on a fixed income saving up to 70% on the cost of their monthly prescription is a major issue. It can make the difference between living well and facing near starvation because most of your money has to go for medication. In this regard one has to take into account that seniors very often need more than one type of medication.
Those who have a stake in the US medicine industry are usually quick to argue that not all countries have the same strict control measures in place to assure the quality of medication as the USA. This is, to a certain degree, misleading the public. A country such as Canada has their own version of the FDA and there is no proof that medicines manufactured in Canada are on the whole of a lower quality than their US counterparts.
This does not mean that consumers should not be cautious when ordering medication from outside their home country. Before you order anything from a Canadian pharmacy, make sure their website displays the CIPA symbol. The Canadian International Pharmacy Association has a rigorous screening process to ensure that their members sell only quality products and deal with customers in a professional and ethical manner.
We have already dealt with the issue of ensuring the quality and safety of Canadian drugs in the previous paragraph. Another issue is whether it is safe or not to part with your credit card information on the internet or over the phone. The answer to this is that if you can trust the company you are ordering from, the process holds no more risk than using your credit card at your local pharmacy. If you only buy from CIPA members in Canada, your private and credit card information will be in safe hands and you don’t have anything to fear.
A word of warning: there are also many mail order and online pharmacies operating from other parts of the world, such as Mexico, India and China. While most of these may be perfectly legitimate and sell products of a high quality, it is very difficult to have any measure of control over the quality of the products they sell. If you want peace of mind, buying from a CIPA affiliated Canadian pharmacy is the safer option.