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Prescription Drugs from Canada

Canadian pharmacies

Canadian pharmacies - Itís no secret that the costs of prescription medications are spiraling upward.  Seniors and their families are taking the brunt of this without any kind of current Medicare coverage for medications.  Itís not unusual at all for some seniors to be paying over $1000 per month for medications.  

If you combine medication treatment for digestive problems, arthritis, heart and/or blood pressure problems, osteoporosis, and one or two more chronic conditions, the monthly costs can go through the roof.  When serious life-threatening problems occur, costs are even higher.  In some cases, seniors are forced to make decisions between buying medications or paying bills or even buying groceries.

Most people think that they have no choice but to have their prescription filled at the local pharmacy. However, there are alternative choices for todayís consumers.

Alternative prescription options

A popular choice for many American residents without health insurance is to obtain their medication from other countries such as Canada.  There has been much written of late about this Canadian pharmacies and how much money this has saved.  Near the Canadian border, seniors often form caravans and charter buses to go across and buy their medications for several months at a time.

Seniors with computers (or those with access to a computer) have a different option however, and that is to purchase their medications online and have them shipped directly to them.  This is far more reasonable than a junket across the border for most Americans, and the cost of shipping is far less than even the shortest bus ride.  

Canadian pharmacies

There are limitations on the kinds of medications that you can buy online for various reasons.  

First and foremost, narcotics are not available.  These are high potency pain relievers, can be highly addictive, and shipping these is illegal in most countries.

Neither can you order antibiotics.  Antibiotics are prescribed to help you body fight infection and you must typically start these immediately.  Because of the time that it takes to ship these medications, you could not start taking them as soon as you should.

Other medications may also not be available.  Highly specialized medications such as cancer medications or those used to treat rare illnesses are also not typically available.

However, for most people, the medications that they must take on a daily basis to prevent or treat chronic illnesses are available online and at far cheaper rates.

Canadian pharmacy safety

Every country has its own guidelines for approving the quality of medications sold.  In the United States, the USDA governs this.  Canada also has a very rigorous system for approving medications administered by the governing body in Canada. This is referred to as Health Canada.

Recent studies requested by the U.S. Congress have established that the quality control in Canada virtually mimics the United States regulatory system. There are rules and regulations that must be followed by the pharmacies in Canada before medications can be shipped through the mail.

The two most important concerns about Canadian pharmacies are the quality of medications and your money.

Tip #1:  Know who you are dealing with

Certified Canadian pharmacies require a prescription from a licensed Canadian physician, before they can dispense medications. If you are dealing with a company that suggests that they do not require a prescription from your American physician, look out.  Unfortunately, there are those that donít operate within the law or attempt to skirt it in every way.

Tip # 2:  Deal with duly licensed authorities

You should always make sure that you are dealing with a certified licensed pharmacy that must adhere to similar guidelines as the pharmacies in the USA. 

Some Internet companies claim to be Canadian pharmacies, however they may be Internet companies operating and sending medications from countries that arenít regulated as rigorously as the U.S. and Canada.

Certified Canadian pharmacies are usually endorsed by pharmaceutical organizations such as Canadian International Pharmacy Association or the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities.

Tip #3:  Consumer beware

Itís easy to advertise that a company provides big savings, but what happens if you donít get your product, or there is a mistake in your order? Itís your money and you owe it to yourself to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable company.

Itís hard to trust an important decision regarding your payment to a company in another country that you canít investigate. Since the pharmacies are in Canada, most companies charge Canadian funds. This means that you are subject to the prevailing rates for currency exchange, from the USA to Canada. Make sure you know what you are paying in American funds, in order to make a fair comparison.

An alternative choice to dealing directly with the pharmacy in Canada, is ordering through a U.S company that facilitates your order through a Canadian pharmacy. Going this route means that you are dealing with an American company under the U.S. legal and commerce systems, yet you still get the Canadian drug prices.

Canadian pharmacy questions

Once again you should investigate the Canadian pharmacy before you order. Common questions should include:

  • How long have they been in business?

  • Do they utilize certified licensed pharmacies?

  • Do they provide medications certified by Health Canada?

  • Do they use a licensed Canadian physician?

  • Can you speak to a pharmacist if required?

  • Do they require a valid prescription from an American physician?

  • Do they have a proper health questionnaire to assist the dispensing pharmacy?

  • Do they charge American funds?

  • Do they have a local, or toll free customer service department in the USA that can track and monitor your order status?

  • Do they have local offices you can visit, or just a post office box number?

  • Are they registered or listed with agencies such as the local Chamber of Commerce, or the Better Business Bureau?

  • Can they provide customer or physician references for their services?

  • What is their policy if you do not receive your order? 

More tips on medications:

1)     If your doctor prescribes brand name medications that you cannot afford, ask if generics are available.  Not all medications are available in generic form but the savings on those that are can often allow you to buy the medications that you need.

2)     Never cut your medication dosage without your doctorís approval.  In order to cut costs, some people will cut their dose under the theory that a half dose is at least half as good as a full dose.  In many cases, this is not accurate and is often dangerous. 

Some medications require a certain amount to be effective at all and other medications may be dependent upon the patient taking a full dose of a second medication.  Medications often react with each other and cutting your dose may affect how several medications work.  Still other medications that may be timed-released will be damaged in the process of splitting.

3)     Always tell your doctor about anything that you take, including supplements.  Even though many supplements donít require a prescription, they can have an effect on the performance of your prescribed medications.

4)     Never self-prescribe your own medications.  If you think that your medication levels need to be adjusted, consult your doctor. 

5)     Look out for Internet pharmacies that send you spam, offer to write prescriptions for you, sites that wonít give you their address or phone number online, and donít have a way to contact a human.  These are most likely scammers who will either take your money and run or give you medications that are illegal or inadequate. 

6)     Donít even think about ordering medications from Internet companies that redirect you to another location or only offer a few medications.  These are not pharmacies and it is questionable as to whether they operate under any laws.

7)  You are responsible for your own health and you must research and study medications and their effect on you and the effects of cross medication. 

Canadian pharmacies conclusion

While the less expensive way may not always be best, there are definitely ways to save money, be safe and still get the medications you require.  

At www.SeniorMag.com, we do a lot of research and study of these matters and we commit to you that you will never see in our pages any advertising for companies that we have not personally comfortable with.  

Canadian pharmacies on www.SeniorMag.com

 

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