The Legality of It All: Who Can Mail Order Prescription Drugs from Canada?

 Are you paying crazy prices for your prescriptions? Find out if you should mail order prescription drugs from Canada and if it's legal in this guide.

More than 4 billion -- that's how many prescriptions U.S. pharmacies filled in 2017. Of this, over a quarter of a billion was for patients who paid with cash.

Altogether, drug spending during that year reached an estimate of $338.13 billion. And in a Western country that doesn't have drug pricing regulations, we can all expect that to go higher. Experts forecast prescription drug spending will reach $610 billion by 2021.

Faced with such high costs, many have turned to mail-order prescription drugs from Canada. For a good reason: U.S. drug prices can be up to 80% higher than Canada’s.

The big question is: Is that even legal?

That's exactly what we'll uncover in this post, so keep reading!

What the FDA Has to Say

The Food and Drug Administration says it's illegal to import drugs into the U.S. "in most circumstances." "In most" is the keyword here, which means there are situations wherein it's legal.

One is if the drug isn't used as a treatment for serious conditions, AKA over-the-counter drugs. Some sleeping aids, such as antihistamines and diphenhydramine, are OTC drugs. If you need help solving your sleep issues, you can order these meds from a Canadian pharmacy.

Conversely, the FDA says it's legal to import drugs used to treat a serious condition. Confusing, right? Good news is, FDA explained it in easier-to-understand terms.

According to them, it's fine to buy meds from outside the U.S. so long as they don't "represent an unreasonable risk." If you don't sell or promote the drug to other U.S. folks, then you're good to go too. But you also have to put in writing that you'll use the medication for only your personal use.
The FDA also has a strict three-month supply rule. If you meet the above criteria, you can order only up to 90 days' worth of supply of the drug. A U.S.-based and -licensed physician should also have signed your prescription.

Why All These Strict Rules?

Although the FDA can't control drug prices, they only have our best interests at heart, which is why they enforce strict laws surrounding drug importation into the country. The appearance (and boom) of rogue pharmacies is one of the main reasons.

Some of these pharmacies aren't pharmacies at all, selling only counterfeit drugs. Or, they sell adulterated medications, which are of poor quality, ineffective, or dangerous. Some are even fake businesses, which will only take your order and money and then disappear.

Before You Pay for Your Mail Order Prescription Drugs from Canada

The above warnings don’t apply to all online pharmacies though! Many of Canada’s e-pharmacies are completely legit and will help you get your meds for a lot less. But, you need to be a cautious buyer and do your homework before you shell out cash.

Here are a few things that’ll help ensure you buy your meds only from legit pharmacies.

Always Requires Prescriptions

A legit Canadian pharmacy always requires a prescription for prescription drugs from everyone. Whether you're buying NSAIDs to treat lower back pain or Ventolin Inhaler for asthma. Unless you can provide them with a copy of your prescription, they won't process your orders.

Don’t worries though, as dependable pharmacies make the process easy. Most have an Rx uploading tool on their sites where you upload a scanned copy of your prescription. You can also email or fax them the document.

In case you can't provide a copy right away, you can leave your doctor's contact info with them. They'll be the one to call your doctor up to request the prescription.

Don't buy from a website that doesn’t require prescriptions for prescription drugs! It's illegal, which makes it a clear sign they're only out to take your money.

Complies with HIPAA

Check the pharmacy's compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This strict standard applies to all organizations that deal with sensitive health information. A part of it (HIPAA Title II) protects the privacy and security of patient details.

Legitimate Canadian pharmacies abide by this through strong cybersecurity measures. They use the latest financial security technology to keep your credit card info safe. They’re also under oath to never share patient information, even if it's a legal situation.

Employs a Licensed Pharmacist

There are many health conditions that people would rather not talk about in public. Take erectile dysfunction, for instance, which affects over half of all males. Most men wouldn't talk about their ED with others, not even their local pharmacists.

But they may feel more at ease if they speak with someone over the phone about their condition. They may have questions they forgot to ask their doctor and want professional advice.

Legit Canadian pharmacies resolve this by ensuring patients can talk with a pharmacist. Reputable e-pharmacies always have a pharmacist ready to answer questions about medications. You can even ask about other major male health problems you're dealing with.

That said, stay away from online pharmacies that don't offer this speak-to-a-pharmacist option. It's a sign you may be dealing with a rogue pharmacy.

Has a Complete and Verifiable Address

Although they're "online" pharmacies, these businesses should still have physical locations. Some even have brick and mortar pharmacies accepting walk-in patients.

So, when verifying the legitimacy of an online pharmacy, be sure to check the address. It should be complete and not only a P.O. Box. And of course, they should provide all means of contacting them, including phone, email, and fax.

Pick a Canadian Pharmacy with Good Ratings

By buying mail-order prescription drugs from Canada, you can save both your health and your money. But be sure to follow all the tips we've outlined above to prevent rogue pharmacies from ripping you off. Also, read as many online consumer reviews as you can, which can further help you locate the best ones out there.
Want more tips that’ll help you live your life to the fullest? Then start with this guide we have on the secrets to a healthy lifestyle!
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