Canada Pharmacy Depot

5 Canadian Online Pharmacy Myths Busted

Sunday 30 June 2019
Canadian Pharmacy
6 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Myth #1: Canadian online pharmacies are not regulated.

i. What is CIPA?

ii. CIPA is recommended by the B.C. government.

II. Myth #2: Canadian online pharmacies must be scams because their prices are too good to be true!

i. Why Drugs Are Cheaper in Canada (and Elsewhere)

III. Myth #3: You will definitely be prosecuted for buying prescription drugs online.

IV. Myth #4: You can buy Viagra (sildenafil) without a prescription at Canadian online pharmacies

V. Myth #5: You can buy controlled substances like Xanax and codeine from Canadian online pharmacies.

VI. Have questions? Talk to us.

If you are a new or prospective Canada Pharmacy Depot customer, you may have a few questions at the back of your mind. Sure, buying medicine online from a Canadian pharmacy website may save you money, but is it safe and legitimate?

Being worried about safety and legitimacy is completely understandable. We understand the doubts you may have. This article will strive to bust some of the myths around online Canadian pharmacy shopping. Canadian pharmacies can offer discounts on medications like Viagra and feel free to explore the third-party sources we cite here to verify information or to learn more.


a gavel

Myth #1: Canadian online pharmacies are not regulated.

It is natural to assume that websites selling medicine are not regulated. Because there are so many Americans looking for cheaper prescription drugs, selling cheap drugs online is major money-making business.

But legitimate Canadian Pharmacy websites are regulated, precisely to keep consumers safe from being taken advantage of.

How does this work? Well, the first thing you should do when you find a Canadian pharmacy is to check if they’re a member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA).


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What is CIPA?

CIPA is a professional association of licensed pharmacies and currently holds a 100% perfect safety record. Pharmacies that belong to this association are regulated by their provincial body (in our case, that’s the B.C. College of Pharmacists). Additionally, all members must:

  • Always require valid prescriptions from its patients
  • Keep a detailed medical profile of all customers so as to avoid adverse drug interactions
  • Provide customers with access to a licensed pharmacist for professional consultation
  • Never sell controlled substances
  • Do the utmost in protecting patient confidentiality[1]

A word of warning: because anyone can copy and paste the CIPA logo on their website, we encourage customers to confirm a website’s CIPA status on the official CIPA website.

CIPA is recommended by the B.C. government.

But how can you be sure that CIPA standards are enough? Well, one good sign is that it is linked to by the official Government of British Columbia website. In fact, CIPA is mentioned as a good source on the provincial government’s webpage on safe internet drug shopping.[2]

In addition to CIPA, Canada Pharmacy Depot is also a member of the International Pharmacy Association of British Columbia (IPABC).[3]

So as you can see, our operations at Canada Pharmacy Depot are held up to strict standards in order to prioritize you, the customer.

magnifying glass on money

Myth #2: Canadian online pharmacies must be scams because their prices are too good to be true!

Newcomers to our website may be surprised (and suspicious) of our prices. After all, sometimes you can save 80-90% on our products when compared to your local brick-and-mortar pharmacy in the United States.

However, we assure you that our prices are most definitely not a scam and are, in fact, in line with real, normal drug prices in Canada.

For example, the cost for a 90-day supply of Lipitor (10 mg) was $40 in 2018 in the province of Alberta.[4] In contrast, the price of retail Lipitor (10 mg; 90-day supply) was in the $300 and $400 range, when we searched it on GoodRx.

Why Drugs Are Cheaper in Canada (and Elsewhere)

So why does Canada enjoy such low prices?

While Canada does not have a nationalized drug insurance program, government bodies negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to keep prices affordable for most Canadians. Many other countries operate like this. The United States is an exception because it currently does not have a similar system in place.

The main price-negotiating organizations in Canada are the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB)[5] and the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA).[6]

security cameras

Myth #3: You will definitely be prosecuted for buying prescription drugs online.

While we cannot give legal advice to our customers over the internet, we can happily refer you to the FDA’s official position: generally, the FDA will not prosecute Americans for importing prescription drugs for personal use, especially if it’s only a three-month supply.[7]

a couple holding hands

Myth #4: You can buy Viagra (sildenafil) without a prescription at Canadian online pharmacies.

A drug often advertised online as being available at Canadian online pharmacies is Viagra (sildenafil), an erectile dysfunction (ED) medication. It is even sometimes advertised as not requiring a prescription to buy.

You should know that sites claiming to sell Viagra without a prescription are most likely unethical and illegitimate. Viagra is a prescription drug and its use should be closely monitored by a physician. Sites that sell Viagra without requiring prescriptions are likely just there to earn a quick buck. If you buy from them, you may end up with counterfeit drugs that may be ineffective or even dangerous.

These sites capitalize on the reality that many patients would rather not discuss erectile dysfunction and Viagra with their doctor. Erectile dysfunction may be an embarrassing condition to talk about, but if you are living with, know that doctors are trained and experienced with discussing potentially awkward health subjects.

Viagra is also frequently misunderstood as a recreational drug, but it is not. Viagra doesn’t increase sex drive.[8] All it does is help men with ED achieve an erection for satisfactory intercourse.

some ingredients

Myth #5: You can buy controlled substances like Xanax and codeine from Canadian online pharmacies

Other drugs that may be advertised as being available at online pharmacies are narcotic painkillers and mind-altering controlled substances. These include the minor tranquilizers Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam), as well as opioids like codeine and oxycodone. 

Xanax and Valium are Schedule IV drugs while codeine and oxycodone are Schedule III and Schedule II, respectively. Oxycodone (often known by the brand name OxyContin) is in the same DEA schedule as fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine.[9]

These drugs are strictly regulated by the U.S. government because they carry a significant risk of abuse and misuse. Online pharmacies certified by CIPA are not allowed to sell such drugs.

Have questions? Talk to us.

As you can see, there are many misconceptions about buying prescription drugs online. We hope this explainer answers your questions. But if you still have concerns, please don’t be afraid to get in touch with us at Canada Pharmacy Depot.

The content provided in this article is based on thorough research and in some cases, reviewed by a medical professional. Our goal for the information is to provide helpful, general health informational. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.