Canadian Online Pharmacies

Internet-based pharmacies operating out of Canada have gained much business in the last few years. The ease of availability and competitive pricing have lured many customers from the United States to Canadian online pharmacies. As of 2005, of the more than 7000 pharmacies based in Canada, almost 270 were said to be operating either completely from the Internet or were using a combination of conventional and distance dispensing methods – including net-based retail.

Most of these firms operate from Western Canada and the industry employs nearly 7000 people. While the statistics may not seem overwhelming, the number of customers catered to by these online drug stores is quite significant. Of the total sales of pharmaceutical products, mail order drugs alone raked in upwards of $1 billion in sales in 2004. The online sites serve an estimated 2 million patients in the US including seniors and those without any insurance.

However, it has not been a smooth sail for the Canadian online pharmacy industry. It had to defend itself against the charges hurled from many quarters. Fears have been raised that Canadian doctors were rewriting prescriptions issued by US physicians. The Canadian Online Pharmacy industry has predictably denied all the allegations. According to them, Canadian physicians often review the prescription given by their US counterparts and do a double check on the patient’s medical background. In case of doubts, the Canadian physicians also revert back to the patient’s original physician based in the US.

The Federal Drug Administration has traced many companies selling drugs online. These were selling drugs to buyers in the US by claiming that such an act did not violate any Federal law and thus were completely legal.

According to a study, it was found that some of the Canadian online pharmacy stores were actually based in the US. These were operating illegally and were providing drugs under the guise of being Canada based online stores. Some US based pharmacies were also purchasing drugs from Canadian firms and selling them in US.

Further, the shipping and handling of these drugs have also raised safety concerns as some physicians in the US feel that temperature sensitive drugs were being imported without giving due attention to packaging detail. This could have serious implications for the safety and effectiveness of the drug being imported. Production concerns have also been raised in the US as some of these drugs may have been manufactured in bulk and a compromise on quality issues cannot be completely ruled out.

Now voices are rising in Canada itself to regulate the online pharmacy business. That country is now planning to modify the Canadian Food and Drug Act. There is a proposal to bring in an amendment that requires Canadian physicians to examine the patient physically before giving out prescriptions. This would also mean that Canadian physicians cannot rewrite prescriptions given by their US counterparts. This move has been criticized by the online pharmacy industry in Canada. The oft-quoted reason being the loss of jobs that may happen in wake of this amendment. The industry is also up in arms against being portrayed as practitioners of unethical and unprofessional business practices. Canada is also planning to crack down on pharmacies operating without the requisite Establishment License. Under Canadian laws, such a license is required for any commercial organization involved in fabrication, packaging, import, delivery, bulk sale and testing of drugs here. This law enables the government to trace the complete chain of sale of the drug from the manufacturer to the user in case of an adverse effect of a drug. It also enables faster investigation and framing of charges.

Strange as it may seem, though there is some distrust among the general US population for these pharmacy products, the number of online buyers for drugs is increasing every quarter. The industry has witnessed healthy growth rates in the past and unless Canada goes ahead and regulates it, this trend is expected to continue at least for the foreseeable future. US customers also seem to be aware of the fact that in case of adverse effects, there is no legal recourse available as it would be impossible to locate the seller of the drug. Buyers seem to be lapping up these drugs irrespective of the general feeling that there may be safety and other issues in purchasing them online.

Online Pharmacy Forum Discussions Benefit Consumers

Consumers using online pharmacies can greatly benefit by visiting and joining in on a forum discussing any particular online pharmacy that they have had experience with or any online pharmacy they are considering buying products from. Consumers can be informed, discover the advantages and the disadvantages of the online pharmacies listed on the discussion forum and also find out things to watch out for when dealing with certain online pharmacies. Vital information on an online pharmacy can be quickly gathered from a forum and be extremely helpful and useful to consumers looking to buy a certain medication online.

Some helpful informational forum discussion topics on an online pharmacy are:

– Prices of the medications sold at the online pharmacy

– The ordering process and ordering requirements of the online pharmacy

– Testimonials of experiences with the online pharmacy whether good, bad or ugly

– Where certain medications might be found at a cheaper price

– The amount of time it actually takes between placing an order and receiving it

– Where a certain medication can be purchased online from a reliable source

– The kind of privacy and discretion used by a particular online pharmacy

– Where different medications are found and available online

– Online pharmacies that are scam artists

Typically the above list is the tip of the iceberg for the kinds of valuable and helpful information you as a consumer can gather from a forum discussing online pharmacies. You get the right information – the information you want to know – from regular people like yourself by using these forums. The reduction of personal risk by engaging in the reading and joining in the discussions on online pharmacy forums is exponential, you need not fall into the same trap that others have fallen in before you, the value of this is amazing and should not be underestimated.

Many online friendships also develop by the use of an online forum which is very beneficial and therapeutic to people who suffer from certain medical problems that they feel they cannot discuss with friends or relatives. For instance a man suffering from erectile dysfunction could find other men who suffer from the same disability and provide for themselves therapeutic personal discussions and a sense of friendship and understanding between them without the obvious embarrassment of person to person contact.

Probably one of the most beneficial advantages that online pharmacy forums provide is that you can ask any of the partakers of the forum any questions you may like to ask about anything. Considering the information you can receive by asking questions from many different forum participants you can create for yourself a framework of correct and informed information on the online pharmacy you plan to use for your next medication purchase.

Some things to look for in joining or reading an online pharmacy forum that indicate the forum has some reliability are forums that receive a lot of traffic, the more traffic the better, typically. Also try to join and look at forums that are moderated so you know that you won’t have to weed through lots of off topic posts to find the information you need and connect with others that are on a similar wavelength with less weeding out.