The US market is one of the largest ones when it comes to pharma. It develops new solutions to treat various health conditions and tests a variety of vaccines that society requires today the most. The reverse side of the coin of this US pharma consistency results in a spike in prices and many people cannot afford to buy a regular cough drug without throwing money down the drain. Here comes an alternative way of getting meds, Canadian Pharma which is known to be relatively cheaper, hence, affordable, though, its medications have not been always accessible to US citizens due to certain restrictions in importation. Let’s check how Canadian Pharma established its relevance for US customers.

Tracing the History of Canadian Pharma Importation

Canada and the USA are so-called brothers-sisters, as their close location helps to support certain political, economical relationships as well as some areas of interest. Beyond that, it concerns the actual tourism where Americans travel to Canada, and Canadians travel to the US to exchange experience, proceed with education, have a vacation, and so on. The same concerns shopping, in particular, a pharmaceutical one.

If crossing the borders for medications was always common, in the early 2000s, it was highly noticeable. Many adults traveled to Canada to access cheap drugs or claimed to order them from online Canadian pharmacies (which could possibly be based across the globe). From that time onwards, it is pretty normal to rely on their market, while Canadians themselves were bothered about expected shortages of drugs, and a spike in prices for them, as the demand was extremely high. The Canadian side was concerned about possible disruption of their drug insurance plans, as well as potential meds side effects that could be detected in America after bringing meds from them. To solve these issues, the FDA modernized the Importation Act by adding some restrictions of importation including:

  • Drugs should be bought from distributors certified by the FDA;
  • Distributors should be licensed or be a part of the wholesale distributor community which LEGALLY distributes drugs for import;
  • Distributors should be in business for at least 5 years;
  • Distributors should have additional business targets for earning profit rather than importation only;
  • Distributors should provide drugs only after receiving a valid prescription from the customers;
  • Distributors should comply with all applicable Canadian regulations and laws, and be ready to allow governmental parties to check that compliance.

In addition, the FDA allowed importing the drugs only with the same active ingredient, application way, and strength as drugs FDA-approved in the United States. The form of the drug is not a matter of regulations, this is where consumers of, say, Canadian Pharmacy enjoy the diversity of pharmaceutical forms that run the gamut from fruity oral gels to lozenges that are unavailable in the U.S. These regulations seemed ideal for potential customers, especially those without health insurance, though there were problems for both countries.

First off, Canadian drug manufacturers did not plan to increase the manufacturing force to supply Americans, as they knew there are many more lucrative markets around the world to earn money.

Secondly, there was puzzlement in approvals. Even though the FDA and Health Canada coincide in processes to approve drugs, they are far from identical. Drugs may be approved differently when it comes to dosages, interactions, and indications. So, there were concerns about the safety of the intake.

Finally, the third issue is the lack of supervision for importation programs which was highly noticeable in 2017. As per 4 former FDA representatives, the Administration could not physically review each seller for licenses, credentials, and other documents under the act. Due to this inability, the FDA was concerned that Americans would start buying Canadian drugs which may harm their health, or lead to dependence.

Who Took the Measures to Affecting Importation?

Nowadays, the highest attention to importation of Canadian drugs is related to Donald Trump’s statements, while it all started from Bernie Sanders’s actions, who served as a junior US senator since 2007. He supported the following idea:

“Lowering American drug prices by importing medication from countries like Canada.”

In particular, it concerned the importation of insulin, however, Canadians were not happy with such intentions, as they claimed to struggle with shortages, and believed that drugs should serve their people’s needs rather than a supply to nearby countries.

Some experts believed that Bernie Sanders with his proposal only tried to hint US pharmaceutical companies to cut down the prices, otherwise, there would be a need to look for other sources. Though, the proposal, as well as the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act are not the best solutions to solve the spike in prices, as America only interferes with the health system of Canada, and disrupts positive relationships between them two.

What about Donald Trump? In September 2020, the Donald Trump administration announced that the “America First Health Plan” will give green-light to start importing drugs from Canada, in particular, crucial for Americans – insulin. The statement also dealt with the rules of importing insulin from other countries. It should be insulin that was first sold in America, then sent to other countries for sale only. If insulin has never been used in America, the restrictions apply.

Nevertheless, Americans expect other drugs to be imported as well, and they rely the most on Canada rather than any other country. As per Smart Canadian Pharmacy, a trusted prescription service offering cost-effective medications to Americans, such a trust in Canadian drugs is dictated not only by reduced prices but a high quality of medical products and presented necessary certifications. Strange it may sound but some people still hesitate about the quality of US drugs.

Current Rules for LEGAL Importation

As per the Importation Act, here are the key terms of the actual drug importation:

  1. Eligible Prescription Drugs;
  2. Drugs should be approved by Health Canada, and meet the FDA conditions.
  3. The labeling of the prescription drug must correspond to the labeling approved by the FDA.

A person may import a drug for personal use following the next requirements:

  • It is not intended to treat severe health conditions;
  • It is for serious health condition treatment but is not available in the US;
  • It is no known in terms of reasonable risks to one’s health;
  • A person should provide in writing a guarantee that a drug is for personal use only;
  • A number of imported drugs should be no more than a 3 month supply;
  • A person should provide the doctor’s name and address who is licensed in the US, and who is responsible for the intake of the imported product;
  • A person should provide writing that an imported drug is required to continue the treatment which he had begun outside the US.

The full list of importation restrictions, you may find with the FDA official website, otherwise, you should directly consult your healthcare provider in case of crossing borders with Canada to bring a specific medication.

Why Do People Go For Online Canadian Pharmacies?

Last but not least perk concerning Canadian drugs is the possibility of ordering online. If crossing borders for medical tourism or drug shopping is clear, many people are not able to do so because of medical conditions or other circumstances. That’s why they seek online pharmacies that distribute medications at reduced prices. What else such online parties may offer?

First off, as was said above, it is reduced prices. Such sellers have many customers and like to extend the clients’ database by introducing additional discounts, hot deals, and special offers for the first, second, etc, orders. Then, attracting prices come from bundles that online pharmacies introduce to allow one to buy a few medications at once and decide on the best formula.

Secondly, online pharmacies help receive medication just by sitting on the sofa. You do not buy a ticket to Canada or travel there by car but wait around 10 days to have it straight at your door. Some sellers do offer free shipping as well.

Thirdly, there are more solutions available compared to the neighborhood pharmacies, so a person is unlikely to come across a shortage of one for his intimate or serious condition.

Nevertheless, these advantages may put you at risk because there are many fraud sellers that only claim to sell authentic Canadian medications but send you a parcel full of counterfeit. Before ordering any medication, speak to your doctor about its safety, potential side effects, interactions. And, research the online market to ensure you won’t be fooled around.

The Bottom Line

The finalization of importation is yet to come, so ordering Canadian meds legally should be very precise. Don’t try to order any controlled substances, illicit drugs from third-parties online. When deciding on traveling to Canada for a certain drug, ensure you won’t break a law by taking it to the United States. If you are not sure about its legitimacy in your country, contact the local governmental authority where you will be provided with necessary information. If a drug is forbidden domestically, speak to the doctor to find a safer alternative. In case, you need insulin and used to order it from Canada, you may get to know about local programs for diabetic people as well. If you comply with all the precautions, Canadian drugs may greatly help you save money, and access effective treatment for your bothering problem.