Purchasing Drugs from Canada and Other Countries


Can you buy prescription drugs from Canada and bring them to the US?

Importing drugs to the US is illegal but yes, there are provisions to help you. You can buy a 90-day supply of FDA-approved prescription drugs in Canada and bring it to the US. A special law signed by President Bush in 2006 (amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill) contains a clause which prohibits the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials from confiscating drugs bought in Canada. Keep in mind that the drugs that you are buying should be non-controlled, meaning they do not fall under the “dangerous drugs” category. The FDA is still watching this law carefully. But since CBP is disallowed from seizing the drugs, FDA has no access to them and has so far not shown any intentions to intervene. If you decide to use this provision, a few things you need to remember are:

  • It only applies to Canada and not other countries.
  • You must have a valid prescription that has been drawn up by a US medical professional.
  • What about purchasing drugs from countries other than Canada?

    As the US government has made importing of drugs illegal, purchasing drugs from foreign shores may subject you to heavy penalties. However, there is a breather in the form of the ‘personal use allowance ‘. It is allowed only in those cases where the prescribed drugs are not available in the US. These might be drugs that are not approved in the US but are sold in other countries. This provision has been made, keeping in mind patients with serious conditions who find drugs prescribed to them unavailable in the country. These medications have to be approved by an American medical professional; they should be safe for use, bought in small quantities and not be used for any commercial purpose. This provision is not designed for buying drugs abroad that are inexpensive and available in the US. Remember, if the drugs you have bought abroad have versions being sold in the US, the provision is not applicable and you may have to face a heavy fine.