My Drug Center

Can You Get Prescriptions from Canada in the US?

Monday 20 November 2023
Canada Drugs
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. The Cost of Prescriptions in the U.S. vs. Canada

II. Legality of Importing Prescriptions from Canada

III. Considerations for U.S. Patients

IV. Ordering from My Drug Center

In the United States, the escalating cost of prescription medications is a prevalent issue, motivating many patients to look for alternatives to traditional U.S. pharmacies. One avenue many are exploring is to order prescriptions from Canada.

U.S. residents can safely, legally, and affordably order prescription medications from Canada and enjoy the convenience of at-home delivery. In this guide, we’ll explore the complete process of ordering medicine from Canada, the legal and safety implications involved, and ways to save by ordering your next prescription from a Canadian pharmacy.

Quick Takeaways:

  • U.S. prescription drug prices are significantly higher than in Canada thanks to vastly different approaches to drug price regulation.
  • It is safe and legal to order prescriptions from Canada to the U.S., but there are legal and safety considerations individuals must keep in mind.
  • Drugs imported from Canada must be FDA-approved and patients must have a prescription from a licensed U.S. healthcare provider.
  • Finding a reputable, CIPA-certified Canadian online pharmacy is essential.

The Cost of Prescriptions in the U.S. vs. Canada

The disparity in prescription drug costs between the United States and Canada is stark and significant, a key factor driving American patients to look across the border for their medication needs. It is driven by the two countries’ vastly different approaches to setting and regulating prescription drug prices.

1. Prescription Drug Cost Regulation in the United States

In the U.S., drug prices are largely determined by market competition, with less government intervention compared to Canada. This results in higher prices for both generic and brand-name medications. The lack of a national healthcare system in the United States means that there's no centralized price negotiation for pharmaceuticals, leading to inconsistent and often inflated prices.

2. Prescription Drug Cost Regulation in Canada

In contrast, the Canadian government plays a more active role in regulating medication prices. The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) ensures prices are not excessive. Canada's provincial and territorial governments often negotiate prices collectively, enabling them to secure prescription medications at lower costs.

As you can see in the chart below, these differences have resulted in prices for popular prescription drugs to be anywhere from 55% to 89% more expensive in the United States than in Canada.

Chart showing the disparity between U.S. drug prices and Canadian drug prices


For U.S. residents grappling with high medication costs, Canada’s more regulated and lower-priced pharmaceutical market presents a promising alternative. But successfully navigating this option involves understanding not just the potential savings, but also the legal and logistical frameworks governing cross-border prescription drug purchases.

Legality of Importing Prescriptions from Canada

Importing prescription drugs from Canada is safe and legal. That said, the process is not without certain considerations for individuals to consider as they plan to order their next prescription. These include:

  • FDA approval: Generally, drugs must be safety-approved by the FDA to be legally imported from Canada. For example, generic Eliquis is not yet available for sale in U.S. markets, but because it is approved by the FDA, patients can save by ordering apixaban from Canada.
  • Quantity restrictions: The FDA limits the import of drugs for personal use to a 90-day supply.
  • Prescription requirements: Every drug order from Canada must be accompanied by a valid prescription from a U.S. licensed healthcare provider.
  • State laws: In some cases, there may be state-level laws that need attention during the ordering process. You can consult your State Board of Pharmacy to learn what these are in your state.

The FDA does have a policy of enforcement discretion that can allow personal importation of drugs that don’t meet all of these criteria, but only under extenuating circumstances. These include scenarios where the treatment is not available in the U.S. or when the medication is for a rare and/or serious condition.

To be as safe as possible when you order your prescriptions from Canada, it’s important to discuss your plan with your healthcare provider and find a reputable Canadian online pharmacy that’s both licensed and has an established reputation for reliable customer service and order fulfillment.

Considerations for U.S. Patients

For U.S. patients considering purchasing prescription drugs from Canada, it's essential to approach the process with an informed perspective:

Vet Your Pharmacies

Ensure the Canadian pharmacy is legitimate and licensed. Check that the pharmacy is accredited by organizations like the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA). Confirm that the medication is approved for use in both Canada and the U.S. and confirm it was sourced reliably.

Managing Prescriptions with Your Doctor

Discuss your plan with your doctor to ensure continuity of care and appropriate medical advice. Obtain a valid prescription that can be recognized by Canadian pharmacies.

Consider Insurance and Reimbursements

Determine if your insurance plan offers any coverage or reimbursement for medications purchased from Canada. Be prepared for potential out-of-pocket expenses, as most insurance plans won’t cover imported medications. Keep in mind, however, that many Canadian pharmacies offer cheaper prices even when insurance coverage is added to the equation (i.e., Canadian drug prices are lower than deductibles and/or copays).

Know the Logistics of Ordering

Consider the shipping times when ordering from a Canadian mail-order pharmacy, which can impact how soon you receive your medication. Because internationally shipped medications have to go through customers, it usually takes a few weeks for an order to be delivered.

Ordering from My Drug Center

My Drug Center is a CIPA-certified Canadian online pharmacy that saves customers up to 80% on their prescription medications. Our pharmacy offers online or by phone customer service seven days a week, and we have pharmacists on staff to answer your medication-related questions.

At My Drug Center, the ordering process is easy:

1. Start on our online ordering page. Search for your medication and add it to your cart.

2. Create your account (this only takes a few minutes).

3. Mail your prescriptions for the items you order.

4. Wait for your prescription to arrive! Remember, we’re always here to answer questions along the way.

To order by phone, you can call us at 1-877-385-8998.

To learn more about My Drug Center, visit our website or contact us any time.

The information in the article is not meant to be used for treatment or diagnosis. It is designed for general awareness and for information purposes only. Always consult a medical professional for your specific healthcare needs.