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How Can You Find a Legitimate Canadian Pharmacy?

How do you afford crucial medicines like Eliquis when the price can top $600 a month? How can people find a legitimate Canadian pharmacy.

The cost of brand name drugs has skyrocketed in the U.S. Many people are finding it hard to afford their medicines. That’s especially true if the copay is very high or if an insurance program does not cover a particular drug. As a result, many people are looking for less expensive versions of their brand name medicines from a legitimate Canadian pharmacy.

Emphasis on the word legitimate! That’s because the FDA warns that there are many rogue online pharmacies selling counterfeit drugs.

The agency states that

“These rogue sites often prominently display a Canadian flag, but may actually be operated by criminals from the other side of the globe with no connection to Canada. Medicines bought from these websites can be dangerous and may put your health at risk.”

Many readers would like to know how to find a reliable website.

H0w Much Can You Save Shopping Online from Canada?

A reader recently shared this amazing cost saving:

Q. My wife was prescribed a medication that cost $1,475 a month via the mail-order pharmacy required by our insurance. I inquired at a Canadian pharmacy, and the same med in the same brand was $325 for a three-month supply. That seemed like a no-brainer, since I was tired of being ripped off.

A. Ordering from a legitimate Canadian pharmacy can often be a great way to save money on brand-name medication. Not all drugs qualify, though. We discuss the pros and cons of this tactic in our eGuide to Saving Money on Medicines. This online resource may be found under the Health eGuides tab.

Eliquis Is Pricey in the U.S. but Affordable in Canada:

This reader submitted this story a couple of years ago. The prices have changed!

Q. Do you have the name of a legitimate Canadian pharmacy? I am taking Eliquis 5 mg twice a day for my Afib. It is free for the first month, but it will cost me more than $400 per month after that.

I found that it is about $162 per month from an online Canadian pharmacy. I don’t know if this is safe.

A. Apixaban (Eliquis) is an anticlotting drug that people with atrial fibrillation (Afib) take to prevent blood clots from forming. Such clots could travel to the brain and cause a stroke. With a coupon from GoodRx, the monthly cost for the brand name could be anywhere from $546 to $674 as of this writing.

A legitimate Canadian pharmacy might charge $166 for the same amount of Eliquis shipped directly from Canada. PharmacyChecker.com also includes legitimate Canadian pharmacies that arrange for shipment from other countries such as Australia, New Zealand or the UK. Those prescriptions could cost as little as $350 for a three month’s supply.

Trust but Verify!

Readers are right to be cautious, though. There are unscrupulous online pharmacies that masquerade as Canadian drug stores. In our electronic resource, Saving Money on Medicines, we describe how you can verify which are authentic. Here are some tips from that eGuide:

  1. Look for the provincial pharmacy license number on the website. If it’s not there, but suspicious.
  2. Contact the provincial pharmacy board to confirm the license is legit.
  3. Make sure there is a physical address in Canada.
  4. Go to the CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association) website (www.cipa.com) certification list. Here is a link.
  5. Visit PharmacyChecker.com for a list of verified online Canadian pharmacies.

Free Medicine?

There is far more information about strategies for saving money on medicine in our eGuide. For example, did you know that you might qualify for free or low-cost medicine?

Joan in Seattle, Washington wrote to share this:

“ELIQUIS has a discount program my husband used. It was only $10 a month. It’s on their website. We only found out about it from the primary care doctor, not the ER doctor. You have to have insurance to be eligible, which is counterintuitive but once the card is active at the pharmacy, it works every month. It’s great. Hope this helps your reader who could not afford Eliquis.”

We cannot vouch for the discount program this reader mentions. There may be barriers to access such as income level or insurance coverage. This is generally reserved for folks who do not have insurance and who pass certain financial hurdles. It’s worth investigating.

Learn More:

To learn more about how to find a legitimate Canadian Pharmacy, we provide URLs and phone numbers in the eGuide to Saving Money on Medicine. If you worry about the quality of generic drugs, you will also learn about authorized generics. Such drugs are a way to reduce the risks of getting questionable quality when forced to buy generic. And if you want to learn more about Eliquis side effects, here is a link to New Eliquis (Apixaban) Alert: Unexpected Side Effect

Final Words:

Have you ever shopped online from a legitimate Canadian pharmacy? Please share your experience. What about PharmacyChecker.com? Was it helpful in comparing prices?

Are you frustrated that drug prices are so different in Canada compared to the US? Why should Americans pay more than people anywhere else in the world? American drug companies often complain that they have to charge so much here because their profits are used to develop new medicines.

But many very successful pharmaceutical manufacturers are in foreign countries. Some examples include: GSK, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Roche, Novo Nordisk and Novartis. How is it that they can be so profitable even though they are based in countries like the UK, Denmark, France or Switzerland?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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