Foreigners Cross Border to Buy Canadian Medications


The Americans? As well as the other foreign residents are actively going north for cheaper and more effective medications. They cross the border for pills and supplements that they have no chances to purchase within the borders of their motherland. What’s wrong? Is there a chance to change the situation? What is the opinion of the government? Let’s try to analyze the situation.

Cross-Border Drug Traffic: Initial Problem

The price. The thing is that an average American has to spend about $1,200 on drugs prescribed by their doctors. This sum is more than in any other country in the world.

How does it happen that the US has the most expensive medicines in the world?

The local pharmaceutical market is not controlled by the government. American pharmaceutical companies increase the prices defending their position with higher prices on the ingredients of the meds and the costs on the improved pharmaceutical laboratory technologies.

In reality, brand pharmaceutical companies have conquered the market and prevented the government from any activity that can affect their financial policy. The price hikes happen yearly.

Besides, some of the most indecent companies partially alter the composition of their well-known drugs to sell them as new ones, thus misleading the buyers and making them purchase more expensive pharmaceutical products of the same effectiveness.

Is it only about the Americans?

Numerous foreigners now are interested in Canadian medicines thinking they are more effective. Besides, Canadian pharmacies offer many additional benefits:

  • The personal approach that includes regular discounts and seasonal promotions. The possibility to offer the lowest prices is explained by the abundance of generic drugs in the Canadian market.
  • Lower prices on the most habitual medications and pharmaceutical equipment thanks to the healthy competitiveness in the Canadian pharmaceutical market.
  • Online consultations free of charge available anytime. Canadian pharmacies’ personal approach has nothing in common with your brick-and-mortar pharmacies. As soon as the majority of the meds sold in their country are cheap, they have to attract more clients to the market.

Unfortunately, the popularity of Canadian pharmaceutical products and supplements places its own medicine market under threat. The following article published by in October of 2019 explains the situation.

Inherent Problems

What happens because of the excessive prices of meds in the US and in other foreign countries? The September article of the Financial Times published in 2019 says the following:

  • Busloads of diabetics make regular journeys to the pharmacies in Canada for cheaper and more effective drugs regularly. Some of the American senators even arrange legal bus trips over the border and backward so that the Americans with chronic illnesses and after-surgery rehabilitation periods could save on their healthcare needs.
  • Numerous parents have to share insulin between the kids, which is more than simply disturbing. It also causes psychological problems. Rationing insulin in the USA is a huge problem because of the local prices.
  • There are three huge pharma companies controlling the American pharmaceutical market. It’s an unprecedented case in comparison with the other countries of the world.
  • About a quarter of the USA residents cannot afford their prescription medications, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The majority of the brand medications in the US have their equivalents in the Canadian pharmacies because many patents on American meds have expired after 15 years of legal use. At present, Canadians have the right to reproduce the most popular and potent medications, including Viagra.

OTC & Prescription Drugs

There are two basic types of medications offered by Canadian pharmacies:

  • Over-the-counter medications. Foreigners can legally purchase them without any prescription. These are generic medications that do not demand any special permission for their use. Nevertheless, you should consult the pharmacist before you start taking the drugs to protect yourself from the dangerous side-effects.
  • Prescription drugs. These are drugs that can be cheaper in Canadian pharmacy (Viagra, Cialis, Zithromax and etc.), but they are very specific and demand a prescription because they are mostly released by the renowned brands that don’t want to spoil their reputation, causing harm to their buyers.

Is It Legal for Foreigners to Buy Drugs from Canada?

It’s a yes-no situation. Canadian pharmacies do have the right to prescribe medications to the American residents. They also oblige you to present an officially approved prescription signed by your medical practitioner. suggests that you never order more than a 90-days’ supply – this is what helps their shoppers to avoid problems at the customs.

If a pharmacy in Canada does not ask you for a prescription on habitual prescription medication, you might be dealing with an illicit drugstore. The majority of the meds sold online or in brick-and-mortar pharmacies demand a prescription. A legally working pharmacy wither in America or in the USA will cherish its reputation and do its best to protect its customers from the wrong and dangerous purchases.

Foreigners, Canadian Drugs & Current Laws

Any pharmacy, regardless of the location and geographical position, should firstly be accepted by the FDA to have the possibility to interact with the other country and sell medications and pharmaceutical products. Foreigners have the right to import drugs in line with the following issues:

  • The drugs should be produced within the rules established by the FDA-inspecting facilities;
  • The FDA-inspecting facilities should check and accept the potential pharmaceutical products that might be available to the residents of the other countries;
  • Rare cases of emergency include the possibility of Canadian pharma imports.