How to Tell A Licensed Canadian Pharmacy From A Fake Internet Pharmacy

There has been a growing concern regarding fake internet pharmacies. In fact, the growth in the number of fake internet pharmacy websites has been termed as a “global disaster” by the pharmaceutical industry.

There are two things to stress here.

First, there are definitely unscrupulous con-men operating fake internet pharmacy sites. You must take care in verifying the validity of any online pharmacy before you order your medications from them.

Secondly, you need to take reports from the pharmaceutical industry with a grain of salt. Big Pharma wants Americans to continue to buy “inflated and overpriced” pharmaceuticals from their local pharmacy. It is in Big Pharma’s best interest (more profits) that you pay top dollar for your medications locally rather than buying your medications affordably from a licensed Canadian pharmacy. Therefore, they use fear to scare you away from Canadian pharmacies and Canadian prescription drugs.

So how do you ensure that you are ordering from a genuine Canadian pharmacy and not a fake internet pharmacy?

First, review the pharmacy’s website thoroughly. The website should provide you with the pharmacy license number, the physical address of the pharmacy and the regulatory body that oversees their operation. Most Canadian pharmacy regulatory bodies have a website that lists the registered pharmacies in their jurisdiction. You can visit the website http://www.napra.org in order to find the listing of pharmacies for each province in Canada or to find the regulatory body for the particular province your pharmacy is located in.

The pharmacy should also provide a phone number on their website for you to call. A pharmacist should be available for you to speak to about your order. Ask the pharmacist about their credentials and ask for their license number. If you want, you can verify this license number with the provincial pharmacy regulator.

Another item to look for is the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) seal. CIPA is an organization that represents legitimate Canadian pharmacy sites that provide pharmacy services to patients internationally. Now, seeing this seal on a website is not a guarantee in and of itself. Fake internet pharmacies have been known to hijack the CIPA seal and place it on their website. The only way to verify the legitimacy of the CIPA membership seal is to actually visit the CIPA website at http://www.ciparx.ca and use their Verify Membership function. A fake internet pharmacy will not have its website listed here.

And the final item to look for on a Canadian pharmacy website is the PharmacyChecker seal. Pharmacy Checker is an independent agency that verifies the legitimacy of Canadian pharmacies as well as American and International pharmacies. In fact, pharmacies can not advertise on Google without a PharmacyChecker seal and Google takes this very seriously. You can verify the PharmacyChecker seal by visiting http://www.PharmacyChecker.com and clicking on the Pharmacy Ratings and Profiles.

Other than checking out the above items on the pharmacy’s website you should also make sure that the pharmacy requires you to provide a prescription from your doctor. Any website that does not require you to provide a prescription is not a legitimate Canadian pharmacy.

Follow these simple rules and you can feel safe knowing that you are safely ordering your medications online from a real, licensed Canadian pharmacy.

Copyright (c) 2007 Jeremy Cockerill

Why Canadian Prescriptions?

Canadian prescriptions can save United States patients lots of money, especially if the cost savings are annualized. That is the short answer to the question. Let’s explore some of the details of that finding.

First off, just what kind of savings are available? My standard answer is up to 80%. But that really depends on which prescription drug you fill your order for. Most of the prescriptions I have priced over the years average at least 40%. Lets look at a real world example.

Let’s suppose that you are taking the blood thinner Plavix. I just shopped two of the best Canada pharmacies online. The first one returns a price of $279 for 84 tablets of the brand name and $141 for 90 tablets of the generic, Clopidogrel. Plavix is still covered by a patent in the United States, but, apparently, in Canada, the patent has expired. I did not realize this until I started writing this article.

So, with Canadian pharmacy #1, we can fill prescription in Canada for as little as $141. Canada pharmacy #2 charges $189.99 for 84 of the brand name Plavix and $134.99 for 120 of generic Plavix. Quite a difference in price there already just by pricing two pharmacies.

The two Canada pharmacies are located in different Canadian provinces, so that may explain the difference in the prices on the brand name prescription.

But finding the least expensive Canadian prescription is a task for another day. Today we are going to compare prescription drugs filled in Canada with those filled in American pharmacies.

Now let’s price the same prescription at two American chain drug store pharmacies, CVS and Walgreen’s. We’ll also price the same prescription at Wal-Mart. Keep in mind that the Average Wholesale Price of Plavix is $518.50 for 90 tablets. If you fill your prescription in the United States, you will pay more than Canadian prescription prices, even if the pharmacy sells it at wholesale!

The two chain stores return prices in the same range: $523.99 for 90 tablets at CVS and $384.69 for 90 tablets at Walgreens. The big surprise for me is that Wal-Mart is also in the same range at $516.78 for 90 Plavix tablets. I wish I could ask the Smiley Face what is up with that.

Actually, it is not the fault of the pharmacies themselves. Though there is no doubt a hefty margin of profit built into their prices, the wholesale price is almost three times the retail price at Canadian pharmacies. And the American pharmacy is unable to even stock the generic Plavix by law. Actually it is by court decree, but that would constitute a rant if we breach that subject.

So United States patients can save a lot of money by buying prescription drugs in Canada. Is this a safe practice?