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Is It Illegal to Get Your Prescriptions from Canada?

Purchasing prescription drugs from a legitimate pharmacy in Canada can save money, but it is against the law.
Is It Illegal to Get Your Prescriptions from Canada?
Canadian mail order pharmacies Canada

Q. What’s the latest on buying prescription drugs from Canada? The cost of brand name medications is destroying us financially. Is it true that buying drugs from a Canadian pharmacy is illegal?

A. In a word, yes. Buying prescription drugs from any pharmacy outside the U.S. is against federal law.

That said, neither the FDA nor U.S. Customs has been prosecuting grannies for buying heart medicine from Canada. To make things more complicated, Maine has passed legislation that allows its residents to purchase prescription drugs from Canada.

Congress Is Considering New Legislation

In Congress, Senators McCain and Klobuchar have reintroduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act. It would allow Americans with a valid prescription to purchase their drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies.

In the meantime, people who would like to know more about this process may find our Guide to Saving Money on Medicine helpful. You may also find the website www.PharmacyChecker.com a useful one, since it vets Canadian mail order pharmacies and will tell you where the drugs are coming from.

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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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