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Thread: Canadian pharmacies

  1. #1
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    Default Canadian pharmacies

    My apologies if this has been covered elsewhere. I recently retired and switched from employer provided insurance to United Medicare Complete. My prescription for a prescription went from $20.00 per month to $350.00 per month (Eliquis). Looking on line at different pharmacies in Canada I an get the same Rx for around $ 90.00. Has anybody dealt with the north of the border companies?

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    Don't know about Canada, but I recently went through this with a chemical peel medication. Price was going to be $1200 at my regular pharmacy. The firm making the drug routed me through a "non-retail" pharmacy that honored a co-pay arrangement with the drugmaker and suddenly my price was $45. As I understand it (and I don't really understand it) the pharmacy with the arrangement provided medical support to institutions - medical centers, elder care facilities, rehab centers - everything except a hospital, so they negotiated directly with the drugmakers rather than through a pharmacy benefit managing company. Or something. These days, who knows.

    Anyway, contact the people who make Eliquis and see if any of this information on their website helps you out.

    Savings And Support for Rx ELIQUIS(R) (apixaban) | Safety Info
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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    Yes, both in person and online.

    For instance, my daughter has kick-ass insurance...it's great...but it is still cheaper than the copay to buy her insulin (which does not require a prescription in Canada) at my local pharmacy in Mont Tremblant and bring it back over the border.

    I have one medication that I just started taking which my insurance (United Health Care/ Walgreens preferred) said they "saved you 122.95" when my copay was 408 dollars and I just bought it using a prescription at my local pharmacy in Quebec for 153 dollars.

    That same prescription I just ordered online from Buylowdrugs dot com. It cost me 371 dollars for a 3 month supply which while pricey is cheaper than 408 for 1 month by a lot.

    There are sites like Blue Sky drugs, Buylowdrugs, and Canadadrugsdirect that I have used online in the past.

    A couple of notes...always compare prices based on Canadian dollars if you can as the different sites SOMETIMES use different CAD to USD conversions. And sometimes they are up to date with exchange rates and sometimes not. Also, try to purchase in Canadian dollars instead of US dollars and use a credit card that doesn't charge you a "foreign transaction fee" (I have one from Chase that doesn't charge and one that does so be careful). Whatever you do, do NOT use PayPal and let them do the exchange of US to Canadian dollars because PayPal will rip you off on exchange rates.

    Oh, also..relevant to your specific medication question...my med is cheaper as I noted but then two of the Canadian pharmacies can get the UK version of my drug and send it to me for even less money (even accounting for it is an 84 day supply instead of 90 day) than the US/Canadian version. In all cases of this post, I am talking brand name drug not generics.

    And, leave enough processing/shipping time. I always give it a month on renewals although the worst I have ever seen from the west coast pharmacies was 2 weeks. The west coast ones also say in winter it could take longer but I have never had that problem. Just suggesting that you shouldn't cut it too close on any renewals.
    Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    Thanks for the information. My employee insurance was just so so. When getting the Rx filled I relied on the “mfg. discount” to the pharmacy. I was never sure how a $350.00/ mo. Rx could go to $20.00 but I didn’t argue. The information I have now says that now that I’m on Medicare I am no longer eligible. I think it’s all smoke and mirrors. Not sure how it can be so different. I think I’ll buy north of the border.

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    I'd also suggest that you consider inquiring about programs that the companies have to support patients. Many will provide discounted prescription costs for people whose insurance doesn't cover the cost adequately.

    Edit: Savings And Support for Rx ELIQUIS(R) (apixaban) | Safety Info
    My name is David Moeny

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    There are plenty of US consumers who travel to Canada and bring back medication, insulin is quite popular, but I think that it is still technically illegal for US consumers to bring back prescription drugs or have them shipped. A few years ago, my wife tried to ship insulin to her parents wintering in California and it was seized.

    If you do come, the medication costs are pretty consistent from pharmacy to pharmacy. What differs is the flat dispensing fee that each charges. Costco and Walmart are the cheapest. Shoppers Drug Mart has the highest fee but has stores seemingly everywhere.
    Jonathan Lee
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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    Quote Originally Posted by summilux View Post
    but I think that it is still technically illegal for US consumers to bring back prescription drugs or have them shipped. A few years ago, my wife tried to ship insulin to her parents wintering in California and it was seized.
    .
    I believe that it is ok as long as it is for personal use. The stuff probably got seized because it was going from one private individual to another private individual and was caught by an overzealous/ not thinking US Customs agent.

    And ordering mail order/ over the internet is totally legal. They make the Dr fax a script and then they have a Canadian licensed doc verify and represcribe. All on the up and up, legal, and the same drugs. The biggest fear that I have and have heard from some in the medical profession in Quebec is that so many Americans are doing it that it might actually raise the prices in Canada to Canadians and Americans. But at least for now that is prevented from happening.

    It is interesting that I have found that the mail order operations HAVE to send the drugs to my NY address and can not send them to my Canadian address. But at Jean Coutu or Uniprix etc they are as cheap (although the mail order 90 day option is cheaper and unavailable at the local pharmacies).

    It is also telling that when I buy it in Quebec in person as opposed to online, the pharmacist always comes out to the front before dispensing and says « but without insurance it is so crazy expensive are you sure that you want it? » I always think, are you crazy this is incredibly cheap compared to what I would have to pay in the US. It is odd to me that my neighbors complain about the health care system in Quebec when every time that I have used it, I have gotten better medical care and faster and far cheaper (and I am paying retail in Canada while Canadians get it free) than in the US (where I am paying after insurance « lowers » my cost).

    In the US, the pharma companies keep spreading disinformation that it is different drugs or somehow lower quality or illegal. All of that is just to protect their profits. Totally legal and totally same drug from the same factory. There are even arranged bus tours to « get diabetes supplies and spend a day in Toronto » trips that fill the busses.
    Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    And ordering mail order/ over the internet is totally legal. They make the Dr fax a script and then they have a Canadian licensed doc verify and represcribe. All on the up and up, legal, and the same drugs.

    It is interesting that I have found that the mail order operations HAVE to send the drugs to my NY address and can not send them to my Canadian address.
    This is good info. If we ever need to send medications to our snowbird parents, we will do it to an internet pharmacy.
    Jonathan Lee
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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    I appreciate all the input and not to derail the topic, but can anyone explain why it is so much cheaper to buy Rx’s in Canada? Same drug, non generic and manufactured by the same company?

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    Quote Originally Posted by mnoble485 View Post
    I appreciate all the input and not to derail the topic, but can anyone explain why it is so much cheaper to buy Rx’s in Canada? Same drug, non generic and manufactured by the same company?

    Mike
    In the rest of the world drug prices are negotiated by the government instead of a wide variety of individual health plans.

    Why the United States has the highest drug prices in the world, explained - Vox
     

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    Default Re: Canadian pharmacies

    The thing the article doesn't mention is that the PBS negotiates the price the Australian government will pay for the drug but that's not what the patient pays.

    For drugs on the PBS the patient payment is the "general patient charge" normally $AUD 41 (about $USD 27) but for health care card holders it is $AUD 6.60, about $USD 4.40.

    I checked whether this applied for Humira, the drug mentioned in the article and it does, so the price here is literally 1/100 the price in the USA (about 1/600th for health care card holders).

    Not all drugs are on the PBS: some have been excluded on cost benefit analysis and some are not covered becasue the normal price is lower than the general payment charge. Another variation is when people are on multiple meds: I know someone who has severe gall bladder problems and takes a cocktail of meds for same. The pharamcist makes up little packets of the meds so they all get taken at the right time, I think the wholes thing is covered by one general patient charge.


    The US government considers the PBS an infringement of the rights of US drug companies and has consistently tried to nobble it in trade negotiations, so far with no luck.

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