Is It Legal to Buy Prescription Drugs From Canada?

By Linda Ray

Under U.S. law, it is illegal to import drugs from Canada. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, does not prosecute anyone who imports prescription drugs for personal use. Americans may import up to a three-month supply of medications without fear of prosecution. Though drug companies and lawmakers continue to argue over the practice, Americans are either purchasing medications through valid online Canadian pharmacies or driving over the border, prescriptions in hand.

Safety

Drugs produced in Canada undergo the same regulatory procedures as those sold in the United States.

Licensing

The government strictly controls pharmacies in Canada and each province must license every pharmacist.

Validate

Check with the Canadian International Pharmacy Association to make sure a pharmacy is valid and properly licensed.

Savings

Drugs purchased from Canadian pharmacies are typically 30 to 40 percent cheaper than those from U.S. drug providers.

Warning

Beware of Internet sites that prescribe medications based on an online questionnaire instead of requiring a physician's prescription to make sure you receive the proper medications in the correct dosage. Avoid bogus counterfeit drugs by only using licensed online pharmacies.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."