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Drugs are more expensive in the US than anywhere else in the world. In many other countries, the government puts a cap on what the pharmaceutical companies can charge for their products. This does not happen in the US. As a result, many Americans are left wondering if they could save money buying their prescription medications from Canada.

Can You Save Money Buying Medicine from Canada?

Q. I take Synthroid for a long-standing hypothyroid condition.

My insurance company wants me to take generic levothyroxine instead. It is much more affordable, but the generic is not as effective for me. I have heard similar comments from others.

It would be less costly to buy my Synthroid from a Canadian drugstore. Is this safe?

A. Purchasing brand-name prescription drugs from Canada is often much less expensive. Using PharmacyChecker.com, we found that Synthroid costs between $30 and $40 for 90 pills from a certified Canadian pharmacy. In the US, a similar supply could cost over $100. There is rarely a cost saving on generic drugs, however.

Is It Safe to Buy Medicine from Canada?

The FDA discourages Americans from buying their medications through Canadian online pharmacies. In fact, it is not legal to do so. It seems, however, that the government is not eager to prosecute people who purchase their much-needed medicines from Canadian drugstores online.

Some unscrupulous websites sell counterfeit drugs. They may claim to be Canadian even though they may actually be located elsewhere in the world. That is why you should verify that any pharmacy you utilize is legitimate. To help you determine which online Canadian pharmacies are trustworthy and better understand this complicated system, we offer our recently updated Guide to Saving Money on Medicines.

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  1. Cheryl
    Portsmouth, RI
    Reply

    I take Synthroid and my insurance coverage is charging twice as much as it used to because they moved it to a tier that’s not covered because they only want you to purchase the generic brand now. I cannot take the generic brand as it has no effect on me at all. So I was looking into how I could purchase Synthroid at a cheaper cost. Well, I found out if I don’t use my insurance, it’s $34 for a 30 day supply instead of $60! Go figure! Greedy pharmaceutical & insurance companies!!

  2. Nancy
    Richmond Hill GA.
    Reply

    I buy my Xarelto from Canadian pharmacy and get 84 pills for 200.00 when I first got on this drug and went to Kroger pharmacy, their price was $555.00 for 30 pills. later I found some drug stores had it for 460.00 for 30 pills. still could not afford it.
    So between taking the Xarelto and Metoprolol a lot of my vitamins that normally would be good for me I cannot mix with one or the other drug. now I’m deprived of them..like COq10

  3. Doreen
    Virginia
    Reply

    I too have begun using a Canadian pharmacy for two generic drugs that have recently skyrocketed in price. Because of the huge price increase for these drugs, all Plan D insurance companies have moved them to an upper tier. Placement in an upper tier limits the insurance coverage to 35%, making out of pocket costs jump astronomically. I am saving about 2/3 the cost on the generic for Entocort and Plaquenil. Canada has a certification agency and the pharmacy I am using is certified. Their service has been great and I have been very satisfied using this pharmacy. I refuse to be held hostage by greedy pharmacies.

  4. Helen M
    Modesto
    Reply

    In the past, I found that sometimes what is available here as only a name branded product is available there as a generic. I purchased lidocaine ointment this way where the cost for the generic from Canada was less than my co-pay on the name brand would have been. Ditto for celexa. The products worked and the savings were substantial.

    The relationship between the FDA and the big pharma companies is incestuous. They hire from the pharma companies and employees of the FDA frequently go to the pharma companies after they leave government work. Since the FDA is funded by industry, not the government, I doubt things will change any time soon.

    I have also heard that insulin is much cheaper in Canada; but that is mostly only helpful if you live near the border.

  5. ph
    St Louis
    Reply

    you list pharmacychecker.com on here . are the pharmacys listed there to be trusted?

  6. Patti
    Reply

    This is timely, the last few days I spent worrying about what to do about my Levoxyl prescription. I have had trouble finding it locally since I went back on it 6 months ago. It’s backordered right now from Walmart & Kroger. My doctor wanted to lower the meds anyway after the tests came back, so I guess it was just as well I didn’t get any yet. I decided to go with generic, right now Sandoz is what Walmart is getting and my RX plan makes them the preferred one only $3 for 90 days. It’s too bad a script can’t say always the same manufacturer. Btw, it’d have been over $64 for Levoxyl. I could have used GoodRx for around $26.50 for Levoxyl. I see Synthroid is really, really high. Thanks to People’s Pharmacy I knew about GoodRx & would have used them.

  7. Wm
    Reply

    Those sites that display the ‘CIPA’ symbol and are active, I deem safe.

  8. Anna Marie
    Cleveland, OH
    Reply

    I have been buying Synthroid from Canada for years and get a brand name as Canada does not deal with any type of generic Synthroid. I cannot take the generic version either.

  9. Dianeliz
    Raleigh NC
    Reply

    I am glad that People’s Pharmacy has become more open to Canadian pharmacies. I have been ordering one of my prescriptions from Canada for at least 10 years. It is the same product from the same company that I would buy in the States, but I save about 2/3 of the cost.

  10. Greg Pharmacist
    OH
    Reply

    My best tips to save money in the USA are
    1) pill splitting (if your dose is 150 mcg, get the 300 mcg dose and cut in half)
    2) Use generic alternatives (Say you’re someone who thinks generics don’t work as well? Levothyroxine 100 mcg is still much less expensive than Synthroid 88 mcg
    3) Try http://www.needymeds.org – many discounts don’t apply with Medicare
    4) Switch to 90 day supply – Ohio recently passed a law, but has not put into effect a law where the pharmacist can switch your # 30 pills with 2 refills to # 90 pills. Other states have similar laws. Sometimes more than a 90 day supply is possible and less expensive.

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