Why Americans buy insulin from Canada

For diabetics in the US, fulfilling an insulin prescription can be quite expensive and for some, getting their medication can be unattainable.

Politicians in the past have vowed to make pharmaceuticals more affordable to patients who may not otherwise would not be able to buy insulin.

As a result of expensive insulin costs, Americans with diabetes would cross the border into Canada where the price of medication can be up to 80% cheaper; even for the exact same brands manufactured in the US.

Is it legal to buy insulin in Canada?

The legalities of buying insulin from Canadian pharmacies is much of a gray area and certainly has its loopholes.

It’s illegal to buy insulin from Canada, but luckily it’s legal for Canadian pharmacies to ship medications directly to residents in the US.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forbids Americans from purchasing their medication from Canada in order to properly regulate imported drugs.

This law can be quite hypocritical since the same drugs are manufactured in Canada, are sold by pharmacies in both countries and Health Canada is a lot more stringent than the FDA when it comes to the safety and efficacy of medication .

Despite the illegality to shuttle prescription medication across the border from Canada, most custom officials typically don’t bat an eye for patients picking up drugs for personal use.

Of course this doesn’t mean that they can’t seize a package if they wanted to, so those who are buying insulin from Canada need not worry too much. There also has not been a single case of anyone going to jail for ordering personal prescription medication from Canada.

According to an official statement by Health Canada in 2004, shipping prescription insulin to the US is legal and will continue.

“The cross-border sale of drugs to the United States has become an important business in Canada because many Americans are taking advantage of lower Canadian patented drug prices and are purchasing their drugs from Canada. Neither Canada’s international trade obligations nor our domestic laws prohibit these exports.”

Prescription Insulin from Canada

How to safely order insulin online?

With the increase of online buying, it’s no surprise that buying insulin online from Canadian pharmacies has become a more preferred option for diabetics in the US.

It’s important to do your due diligence when deciding to purchase form an online pharmacy.

Websites such as Buy Canadian Insulin provide medication that is supplied by an accredited pharmacy by the Manitoba International Pharmacists Association (MIPA).

For those looking to purchase insulin vials and other diabetes supplies must still provide a valid prescription from their doctor and may only receive up to 3 months supply.

Why is insulin cheaper in Canada?

In Canada, The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board ensures the price of patented medicine sold in Canada are affordable. However, it doesn’t have control over mark-ups by retailers and also doesn’t regulation the price of generic drugs.

The United States has no regulations over pharmaceutical pricing which is why you have insulin prices that end up costing patients 2-6 times more than Canada.


doctor holding smartphone

Insulin is very expensive for Americans however many have found that either crossing the border to buy from Canadian pharmacies or ordering online can provide saving up to 80%.

Of course if you’re not living in a bordering state such as Buffalo, Seattle or Detroit, then this can be out of the question.

If you’re looking to buy insulin online, be sure to order from an accredited pharmacy.

Even though some pharmacies in Canada do not ask for a prescription, you must provide a prescription from your doctor when ordering online.

Websites such as this provide low cost insulin supplies and ship directly to residents in the United States from Canada.

Find well-known pharmaceutical brands on Buy Canadian Insulin such as Novorapid (Novolog), Humalog, Humulin and Basaglar.

Have a question? Don’t hesitate to contact us.