PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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When a Canadian Online Pharmacy Isn’t Just Canadian

An article by Joe Rothstein in EIN News concerning personal drug importation and online pharmacies recently caught our eye for two reasons. First, Mr. Rothstein called out the pharmaceutical industry for funding groups that give poor advice to consumers about buying medication online. Second, Mr. Rothstein identified as a source for “providing a list of certified Canadian suppliers who sell at prices usually well below the cost of U.S. pharmacies.” It is true that we do that, but our efforts extend far beyond Canada; we also verify and inspect pharmacies in many other countries, which was not mentioned in the article.

So what’s the issue? Remember, that according to the FDA, personally importing medication under most circumstances is technically illegal. Of course, many of us believe that it can be and is done very safely. Mr. Rothstein’s article states “…defenders of the importation law argue that thousands of phony online sites claim to be ‘Canadian’ to fool the unwary, and for self-protection consumers should avoid Canadian sites entirely.” Opponents of personal drug importation use those quotes around Canadian because they believe that dangerous rogue online pharmacies deceive consumers by claiming to be Canadian, only to ship medication from another country. On this count we agree with Big Pharma, however there are also safe Canadian online pharmacies that do refer prescription orders to licensed pharmacies in other countries. (more…)

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Anatomy of a Fake Canadian Online Pharmacy

For those of us looking online for safe and affordable medication, it’s very disconcerting to hear about the problem of fake Canadian online pharmacies, or any fake online pharmacy, and the myriad ways they can endanger your health, such as by sending counterfeit or substandard medication or engaging in identity theft.  We can help you avoid the bad guys.

Just last week the FDA reported that – through Operation Pangea VI – thousands of illegal online pharmacies, including fake Canadian ones, were shutdown to protect Americans from dangerous medication.  The FDA should be applauded for shutting down dangerous sites. However, even though there are real Canadian and other international online pharmacies that are safe and have very low drug prices, the FDA continues to warn Americans not to use them through its BeSafeRx program. We believe this confuses Americans about what they need to do to obtain prescribed and affordable medication safely online.

A fake Canadian online pharmacy is essentially a website dressed up with the Canadian flag, maple leafs, with red and white colors, or other graphics of Canada, but without actual ties to Canada. In fact, a majority of so called “Canadian” online pharmacies are based overseas, many in Russia and Eastern Europe. Some of them are even known to have ties to organized crime. Simply put, they are not Canadian pharmacies. Like all rogue online pharmacies, fake Canadian online pharmacies often:

  1. Don’t require prescriptions;
  2. Don’t publish verifiable and useful contact information;
  3. Don’t fill orders through licensed pharmacies;
  4. Don’t sell real or safe medications;
  5. Don’t have licensed pharmacist dispensing your prescription order; and
  6. Don’t protect your personal and financial information.

A real Canadian online pharmacy offers the following:

  1. Regulated medications that are approved by a respected national drug regulatory authority;
  2. Prescription fulfillment through licensed pharmacies, dispensed by licensed pharmacists;
  3. Requirement of your valid prescription, issued by your doctor – NOT through an online questionnaire;
  4. Verifiable contact information, including telephone number and mailing address;
  5. Online pharmacy operation by or affiliated with a licensed Canadian pharmacy; and
  6. The ability for consumers to speak with a licensed pharmacist for counseling;.

You can find real Canadian online pharmacies on We have verified that they meet critical safety criteria.

There are a small number of real Canadian online pharmacies that no longer work with a Canadian bricks and mortar pharmacy because they have transferred prescription fulfillment to licensed pharmacies in other countries. They retain the Canadian moniker or have the word “Canada” in their web addresses to keep their original branding and website.  That doesn’t mean they are not safe. However, they ought to be transparent and disclose that medications ordered come from pharmacies outside of Canada.

This brings up an important side note: where are your medications really coming from and who is making them? When you buy a prescription medication at your local U.S. pharmacy that does not mean it was made in the United States. Almost half of all prescription drugs sold in U.S. pharmacies are imported.  Furthermore, U.S. pharmacies do not inform you who made the active ingredients (the main ingredient that treats you) – in the medication you are taking. Most active pharmaceutical ingredients – 80% according to the FDA – found in U.S. pharmacy prescription drugs are made outside the U.S., mostly in India and China. If you buy a prescription drug from Canada and most other countries the same holds true. Don’t despair, the U.S. and many other countries have strong safety protocols to protect their prescription drug supplies: those same supplies usually just cost much more in the United States.

Here’s a chart to show you the difference between real and fake Canadian online pharmacies. As you’ll see it’s like day and night:

Real Canadian Online Pharmacies Fake Canadian Online Pharmacies
Sells only regulated medication? YES NO
Prescription fulfilled through licensed pharmacies and by licensed pharmacists? YES NO
Requires your valid prescription? YES NO
Provides verifiable contact information? YES NO
Protects your privacy? YES NO
Does not send you spam? YES NO
Is owned by or works with a Canadian pharmacy? YES NO
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Drug Importation: Personal Stories About Ordering Medication Online From Foreign Pharmacies

Congratulations to President Obama on his re-election. We hope his next administration will heed the stories Americans are telling about their struggles to afford prescription medication. On that note, we loudly applaud our friends at for continuing to fight for Americans who are struggling to afford needed medication.  A new webpage from brings testimonials from hundreds of Americans across the country into one place. Their stories remind us why access by Americans to safe, foreign online pharmacies is a matter of protecting the public health, and that blocking access will only endanger it.

Below are two excerpts from the new testimonial page:

“Current purchases of medicine from licensed online Canadian pharmacies are saving my wife and me at least $1000 per month and mean the difference between us living or dying. Without these meds, we would both be dead by now…”Florida.

“My husband has COPD and in three months with Part D he is in the donut hole. Thank God for our Canadian pharmacy, they have helped to keep him alive for many years”New York


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