As the cost of prescription medication continues to rise in the United States, individuals and families on a tight budget are looking for other options. Many turn to Canadian pharmacies for their lower price tag and relaxed rules. However, before you can obtain your medication you must ask yourself, “Do you need a prescription for online Canadian pharmacies?”

Do you need a prescription for online Canadian pharmacies?

Individuals wondering do you need a prescription for online Canadian pharmacies are under a common misconception that they can legally order any drug online from Canadian pharmacies without a valid doctor’s prescription. This, however, is not true and any legitimate pharmacy must have a valid prescription before filling the prescription. However, legitimate Canadian pharmacies can legally sell medication that does not require a prescription. For example, Alli is a weight loss drug that can be purchased from an online Canadian pharmacy without a prescription because he is considered an over-the-counter medication.

Performing a search online will yield many online “pharmacies” offering medication without a valid prescription. These so-called “pharmacies” are either nothing more than a scam or are illegally selling medication without a prescription. These fraudulent pharmacies do not follow the strict laws and guidelines set by Canada, and there is no guarantee that the drugs you are purchasing are the ones you actually ordered.

Laws and Online Pharmacies

Purchasing prescription medication from a foreign country is not illegal in the United States of America and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not intercept packages containing prescription medication from online pharmacies as long as the medication meets the following three criteria:

  • Not a controlled substance
  • For personal use only
  • 90-day supply or less

However, it is illegal to purchase prescriptions that are not approved by the FDA even if they are approved by Health Canada.

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Keep in mind that U.S. Customs randomly screens shipments coming into the U.S. to prevent bogus medications or drugs containing unapproved or dangerous ingredients from harming individuals. The FDA may make an exception in certain instances. For example, if the medication is used to treat a serious medical condition and said treatment isn’t available in the U.S. or the pharmacy prescribing the medication doesn’t produce the medication for U.S. consumers than the FDA may allow an exception.


No matter where you decide to purchase your medication, always thoroughly research the online pharmacy before ordering. Furthermore, speak to the pharmacist at the online pharmacy to ensure you are receiving the exact medication that your doctor indicated on the prescription. When asking yourself “do you need a prescription for online Canadian pharmacies”, keep in mind that dealing with a pharmacy that doesn’t follow Canadian law you can be held accountable for obtaining the medications. Penalties can include fines and jail time.

Thankfully, is your source for obtaining affordable medications legally and safely from U.S. and Canadian pharmacies. The resources and tools available at helps consumers make informed choices when ordering prescription medications online.


About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs. - Search. Compare. Save.

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