With prices for prescription medications in the US being what they are, many people today are desperate to find a cheaper and high-quality alternative abroad. Near-border Canadian pharmacies have long become a pilgrimage destination for hundreds and thousands of tourists from the USA who come here looking to buy quality Rx medications at a fraction of cost.
Why Are Drugs Much Less Expensive in Canada?
There is no governmental control over the drug prices in the USA; therefore, the country’s pharmaceutical companies are free to put virtually any price tag on their medical products. On the contrary, Canadian branded medications are usually much less expensive since the country authorities have the final say in how much a particular Rx drug can cost and apply a variety of regulation tools to keep drug prices at bay. It is no wonder that a growing number of Americans today opt to purchase their Rx meds north of the border or order those online from My Canadian Pharmacy that can provide its US customers with up to a 3-month worth supply of top-quality prescription drugs, both brand name and generic products, at a favorable price.
Is It Against the Law?
While the US federal laws forbid importing prescription drugs from abroad for anyone but the manufacturer, many people are willing to take this risk to get the required Rx medicine at the price they can afford. In desperate need of affordable and quality prescription drugs, Americans have been circumventing the federal law for years, smuggling life-saving meds from Europe, Mexico, and especially Canada, where these can cost up to ten times less than in the US.
Now, with the U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration planning to legitimize the import of some prescription-only medicines from other countries, Canadians fear the possibility of severe Rx drug shortages. Many Canadian pharmacies are already struggling to maintain their stocks of some vital Rx medications.
Guidelines for Purchasing Meds Abroad and Importing Them to the USA
While importing prescription meds is not technically legal, customs agents often choose to turn a blind eye to this if the following conditions are met:
- the amount of the imported medications does not exceed the 90-day supply limit
- the consumer has some written evidence to prove that the meds are for personal use only
- the medication does not pose any excessive or undue risk to the user
Consumers should be careful when trying to bring in larger quantities of meds because the authorities might suspect that these are for commercial use. It will then lead to the confiscation of the medications and put such customers at risk of legal prosecution. The same applies to ordering Rx medications online.
Although ordering meds online from abroad is one of the most popular and widely used methods of purchasing Rx drugs today, My Canadian Pharmacy experts would like to once again remind that this should be done with great caution and after careful review and verification of the online drug store.
What Makes Canadians Nervous?
The Canadian authorities are primarily concerned that their local drug manufacturers will not be able to keep up with an ever-increasing demand for Rx drugs coming from the country, whose population is 10 times bigger than the population of Canada. In their opinion, this might result in Canadians themselves not having access to vital medications that their lives depend on.
However, our experts believe that there is another reason for public uproar here. Growing demand for cheap Canadian prescription meds from US customers can eventually push foreign drug manufacturers to reconsider their price policy, causing a sharp increase in now-affordable prices for medications.
While the problem might sound a little exaggerated to some, once you take a closer look at the available facts, you will probably start to empathize with the Canadian citizens.
- The population of Canada today is only about 37 million, whereas there are over 327 million people living in the USA. California alone has 2 million more residents than in entire Canada.
- According to the Canadian Health Ministry, there are over 1900 actual drug shortages being reported right now.
- 1 in 4 Canadians has already been affected by the existing drug shortage either directly or through a family member.
- There is a 2010 study, which suggests that if only 10% of all US prescriptions were to be filled in Canadian pharmacies, Canada would run out of its drug supplies in a little over 220 days.
Even though it looks rather worrying, thousands of Americans raiding Canadian pharmacies in search of cheap Rx meds cannot bring down its well-oiled drug supply machine. However, should the US legislation be slackened as promised, allowing the wholesale import of certain Canadian drugs to the States, shortages will become a more-than-real threat. There are reasonable fears among Canadian consumers that once international pharmaceutical companies that largely supply Canada with prescription drugs catch the wind of what is going on, they can reduce the amount of their drug import to what they think will cover Canada’s own needs.
While the new US drug import regulations are far from being put in place, a group of activists that includes healthcare workers, hospitals, pharmacists, and patients, has already petitioned the Canadian government expressing their concerns about the heightened shortage of prescription drugs in the country and urging the authorities to take pro-active measures to protect their medication supply.
Trump’s Efforts to Give Americans Cheap Rx Drugs May Prove Ineffective
The question of providing Americans with access to affordable and high-quality prescription medications has been on President Trump’s agenda ever since his election campaign of 2016 when he made a promise to his voters to “bring soaring drug prices back down to earth.” Initially, he planned to do so by encouraging more competition among the US drug manufacturers and obliging them to disclose prices for their medicines in TV ads. His efforts immediately faced much opposition from pharmaceutical companies and today, in 2019, a little has changed regarding prices for Rx drugs in the US.
With this new initiative, Trump’s administration hopes to finally resolve the issue of grossly overpriced US medications. However, many health experts view this attempt as nothing more than just putting a “Band-Aid” on the problem and say that it cannot fundamentally improve the situation.
The critics of Trump’s plan believe that importing medications from Canada cannot cover all the US need for prescription drugs or make the US pharma revise its prices for vital Rx medications, but it can lead to some grave consequences within Canada and endanger lives of hundreds and thousands of its people.
The experts of My Canadian Pharmacy believe that one way to solve the problem is to devise and launch an efficient industry reform that would allow the US government to monitor and regulate drug prices, setting a price ceiling for the most needed meds and making sure the pharmaceutical companies do not overcharge.
The Bottom Line
It remains to be seen whether the proposed drug import legislation will take effect and have a positive influence on the drug prices in the USA. However, one thing is clear: with the next presidential election just a year away, the controversy surrounding the problem of supplying the US people with cheap quality medicines is only gaining its momentum.
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