Online pharmacies are companies on the worldwide web that sell medicines or prescription drugs. These are companies found all over the world, much like any business, that sells their products online. Many pharmacies have physical stores, but not all of them do. One major benefit of buying from online drugstores is that they are able to charge a much lower price than regular establishments.
In the United States (US), cost of medicines are much higher compared with other countries. Lipitor for example, with the generic name of Atorvastatin, is a drug used to lower or control cholesterol levels and aid in cardiovascular disease. Its cost was USD5 to USD6 per 20mg and the generic version sold for USD3 to USD4 in 2011. In the same year, Canadian pharmacies sold Lipitor, not the generic type, at USD3.07 which translates to a savings of USD2-3 per pill. Since this maintenance drug is not just a one-time purchase, the savings are immense when considered on a long term perspective.
Canadian pharmacies have grown in popularity these last few years, especially with US citizens who feel the pinch whenever they need to spend for maintenance medication. Not everyone can easily travel to Canada just to purchase what is needed so online Canadian pharmacies make acquisition of prescription drugs more accessible and convenient for US residents. Since purchases are online, there is a sense of confidentiality compared to when you’re standing in line at a store with the next person hearing the details of one’s transaction.
Though there is great convenience and perhaps even confidence in Canadian pharmacies, there are certain points that buyers need to be aware of before engaging an online drugstore.
- Almost all drugs that are brought into the US from Canada are not US-FDA approved. This means that there is no guarantee that the medications sold in Canadian pharmacies are manufactured in Canada and the US-FDA has no jurisdiction in Canada to regulate these medicines prior to purchase. Even brands that are sold in the US but purchased in Canada then brought into the US are not considered FDA approved.
- All is not lost for US residents that need to purchase medicines at a lower cost from Canadian pharmacies. The US-FDA “does not object to personal imports” of medication under the following circumstances:
- The drug needed is not available in the US and it is used to treat a serious illness.
- The drug is not commercially promoted in the US.
- There are no known unreasonable risks or side effects.
- The user must indicate in writing that the medicines are for his or her personal use, must note down the name and details of the physician in attendance or justify that the product is used in continuation of a treatment begun in another country.
- Maximum importation of 3 months’ worth of supplies.
There are many reliable Canadian pharmacies to choose from, both online and those with physical stores. Just remember that it is safer to purchase from Canadian pharmacies that require prescriptions for regulated drugs which shows that they follow local rules and regulations.