Does It Make Sense To Buy Prescriptions From Canada by Mail?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

Is It Safe To Buy Name-Brand Medications via Mail Order From Canada?

Richard from California: “Is it safe and practical to buy brand-name medications with mail order from Canada? If yes, what companies do you recommend?”

Clark’s Take on Ordering Prescriptions From Canada

Clark says: It’s been controversial for decades, but it’s worth it if you take the proper precautions.

He notes that you can get big savings on generic medications at American warehouse chains, “But if you need a particular brand name for which there’s no generic, it can be life-changing what you have to pay to fill that prescription in the United States.”

If you live close enough to the Canadian border, driving to buy name-brand medications is something you may want to consider, he says. If you live too far to drive, ordering from Canada via mail order is the way to go. But Clark says you need to be careful.

“This is an area that has been unfortunately filled with a lot of fraud, where rogue pharmacies send you drugs supposedly from Canada that are counterfeits. And you end up buying something that instead of helping you, could even potentially end up harming you.”

Because of the dangers involved, Clark wants you to order prescription drugs only from reputable and licensed pharmacies.

Where To Order Brand-Name Medications From Canada

Clark recommends that you buy prescription drugs from Canada only through CIPA, the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. The group is comprised of licensed retail pharmacies that sell medications approved by the Canadian government.

Here are some features of

  • The website says you can find drug prices “up to 80% less than the U.S.”
  • The site has a website verifier that lets you check whether a particular online pharmacy is legit.
  • CIPA also provides a certification mark on all its approved pharmacies so you can readily tell if they are members.
  • The site also has a list of CIPA-approved pharmacies.

Clark says that buying from only CIPA-approved pharmacies means, “You’re able with pretty good confidence to know that the pharmacy that you’re buying from in Canada is legit, selling you real manufacturers’ prescriptions for that brand name and not some kind of counterfeit.”

Here are more ways to save on prescriptions.


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