Everything You Need to Know About Drug Prices in Canada vs USA

Category: Drug Information


Posted on August 13, 2019

Vanessa is a health writer and blogging expert. Her specialities are medicine, health and wellness. She is proud to call Vancouver, BC her home where she enjoys the ocean and mountains with her dog Mr. ChowChow.

drug prices in canada vs usa

Do you struggle with paying for your prescriptions? Do you ever skip doses or delay refills because you don’t have the money to buy your medications?

The March 2019 KFF Health Tracking Poll reports that 24% of people taking prescription medication have difficulty paying for them.

Among people 50 to 64 years old, 3 in 10 report trouble affording their drugs. This group, on average, takes more prescriptions than younger people. Yet, they are not old enough to receive Medicare drug benefits.

Many people are looking at drug prices in Canada vs USA. It is important to check the final cost of purchasing prescriptions from Canada. You must also look at the pros and cons involved in buying international drugs.

Why Is There a Difference in Drug Prices in Canada vs USA?

The U.S. allows market competition to control medication pricing. This has led to higher medication prices in the U.S. than in other countries. The government in many other countries directly or indirectly manages drug costs.

The U.S. competitive marketing system, allows pharmaceutical companies to make significant profits. Manufacturers counter this complaint stating a need for profits to incentivize high-risk research.

In order for a manufacturer to get a product to market, they must pass many layers of regulations. According to Occupational Medicine, only one in about 5,000 to 10,000 compounds makes it through the system and to the marketplace.

Recent estimates report a cost over a $19 million for clinical trials to get FDA approval. Pharmaceutical companies also highlight higher U.S. survival rates for diseases including cancer.

The above-inflation yearly increases in U.S. drug prices has widened the price-gap compared to other European countries. Many of these countries have capped drug costs or even forced the lowering of prices.

Between 2011 and 2015, Medicare recipients paid 62% more for brand-name drugs. The salary and pension income for those over the age of 65, however, did not meet this 62% rise. Thus, the steep rise in medication prices makes it very difficult for people to keep up.

Are Medications Cheaper in Canada?

PharmacyChecker reports that many brand-name prescription medicines are less expensive in Canada. Yet, the U.S. Generic medications are often cheaper in the U.S. than in Canada.

Research on 20 popular brand-name drugs found a possible average savings of 70% when purchased in Canada. Some examples of 90-day supplies in October 2018 include:

  • Premarin 0.625 mg costs $623.70 in U.S. vs. $76.61 in Canada
  • Januvia 100 mg costs $1,593.90 in the U.S. vs. $269.94 in Canada
  • Crestor 10 mg costs $969.30 in the U.S. vs. $204.02 in Canada
  • Advair Diskus 250/50 mcg costs $1,437.99 in the U.S. vs $383.74 in Canada
  • Nexium 40 mg costs $863.10 in the U.S. vs. $149.94 in Canada

Generic medications cost less in the U.S. than in Canada.

  • Atorvastatin 20 mg costs $37.36 in the U.S. vs. $83.74 in Canada
  • Sertraline 100 mg costs $45.60 in the U.S. vs. $93.74 in Canada
  • Celecoxib 200 mg costs $38.47 in the U.S. vs. $53.58 in Canada

When considering purchasing from a Canadian pharmacy, be sure to compare prices. Also make sure that you know the U.S. dollar price, not the Canadian dollar price.

Why Are Brand-Name Drugs Less Expensive in Canada?

The Federal Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) is an agency in Canada. This agency has the power to challenge any price of a patented drug in Canada. The PMPRB gets its power from the federal patent law.

There is no bargaining to reduce drug prices. This agency declares prices to be an illegal abuse of patient rights. It then caps the prices paid by private and public plans.

All Canadian Pharmacy Are Not Alike

Many people are starting to buy prescription drugs from Canada. You must be aware that not all “Canadian” companies are alike. The FDA warns that when buying prescriptions from outside the U.S. you may face risks.

Some counterfeit medications have surfaced. This means that the medication may not contain the ingredients on the label. It may also contain other ingredients.

The dosage may not be correctly measured. Some medications originate from other countries. These countries may not have strict regulations about the manufacturing process.

You may end up taking medications that do not help your conditions or even harms you.

How to Determine a Rogue vs. Legitimate Canadian Pharmacy

The FDA states that “rogue” pharmacy websites often prominently display the Canadian flag. In truth, this may be a criminal operation site from another part of the world.

So how do you make sure the pharmacy is legitimate? Here are tips to ensure your safety:

  • A valid prescription is required to place an order
  • A licensed Pharmacist is accessible for consult or questions
  • Make sure the physical address for the pharmacy is in Canada
  • Visit PharmacyChecker.com to find a list of verified online Canadian pharmacies

When you look at the website, legitimate pharmacies display logos for these verification sites. They want you to know you are safe with them. Go ahead and click on those logos to make sure they are real.

How Do You Order Medications from Canada?

You have three options for buying medications from Canada. There are secure processing systems to protect U.S. citizen’s financial and medical privacy.

You can refill your prescription by phone. You may choose to go online to complete your order. 

Are You Looking for Cheaper Alternatives to Buy Prescriptions?

Do you know that you can get the name-brand prescription medication for less money from Canada? The drug prices in Canada vs USA may vary by as much as 80%. We offer a flat shipping rate of $9.95.

Our pharmacy is PharmacyChecker.com verified. All prescriptions are dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Your financial and medical information is protected to ensure your privacy.

All prescriptions filled adhere to the FDA regulations. We only fill a maximum of 90-day supplies. We do not dispense prescriptions for narcotics or controlled substances.

If you would like to learn more about how to order your prescriptions from a Canadian pharmacy, contact us today.

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