Expect 1 to 2 Week Shipping Delays. Due to high call volumes, please click here if you need to contact us.

How Do Canadians Feel about U.S. Citizens Ordering from Canadian Pharmacies?

Monday 30 September 2019
Canadian Pharmacy

Table of Contents


I. Some Canadians worry about maintaining a supply for patients.

  a. Drug shortages are already becoming an issue.

  b. But it’s not clear that they are caused by Americans.

  c. Regardless, the Canadian government does not want every American ordering from Canadian pharmacies.

II. Despite that, it seems like not all Canadians are against helping people order online.

III. And the FDA is not entirely against Americans ordering from Canadian pharmacies either.

IV. So, for the time being, you can order from Canadian pharmacies—just be sure to follow the FDA’s guidelines.


As a conscientious buyer, you want to make sure your purchases do no harm. After all, it doesn’t feel great to know that your purchase might have hurt someone else. So, you take the time out of your day to research what you want to buy.

In many cases, you find the info you need to make a thoughtful purchase. But not every case is so simple. And ordering medication online from Canadian Pharmacies can be one such case.

It doesn’t have to be, though! What you need to consider is how your purchase affects others. If it’s Canadian medication, then consider how Canadians feel about it. 

Not sure? No worries! As a Canadian pharmacy referral company, Canada Pharmacy Depot can give you a better idea.

A blurry-looking shipping container sits on one shelf in the foreground surrounded by clearer-looking shipping containers in the background.

Some Canadians worry about maintaining a supply for patients.

In our country, it’s true that some Canadians are worried about purchases like yours. After all, the population of Canada is quite small compared to America. In fact, the population of the entirety of Canada is about the same as that of California’s.[1] So there is concern about Americans taking too much of Canada’s drug supply.

Drug shortages are already becoming an issue.

It doesn’t help that drug shortages have been increasing in Canada. For the last three to five years, 79% of pharmacists have reported experiencing this increase.[2] But it’s not just pharmacists dealing with this. 

Regular Canadian citizens are also feeling the pain of drug shortages. As part of a Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) 2018 survey, one in four Canadians indicated that they have personally experienced or known someone who has experienced a drug shortage.[3]

In some cases, around 15–21% of Canadians have looked into finding drugs elsewhere. This has involved buying drugs online. But in other cases, it has involved getting them through informal sources. Some of which have included family members.

But it’s not clear that they are caused by Americans.

These drug shortages are problematic. But are they actually caused by Americans buying Canadian drugs? 

The short answer? Canada isn’t exactly sure yet. 

In the face of this uncertainty, the CPhA sent the Canadian government an appeal to do more research.[4]

Currently, the Canadian government has only suggestions for what could be at fault. These include possible issues with different aspects of the drug supply chain:[5]

  • Supplies
    • To make drugs, manufacturers need specific active medicinal ingredients and raw materials. If these get contaminated, it could force manufacturers to halt drug production.

  • Manufacturing
    • Many drug manufacturers create multiple products with the same equipment. If they choose to increase production of one drug, they may delay the production of another. This could cause a temporary drug shortage. 
    • Drug manufacturers could also experience drug shortages from contamination. This would likely be due to poor manufacturing processes.
    • In other cases, drug manufacturers may alter their procedures or production lines. Usually, these changes are planned ahead of time. But sometimes they can happen unexpectedly. 
    • Lastly, manufacturing could unintentionally create faulty products. When that happens, these products may be recalled voluntarily.

  • Contracts 
    • Contracts can also pose potential drug shortage issues. One such issue may be that the manufacturer relies on a single supplier for raw materials. So, if that supplier runs into problems, so too does the manufacturer.
    • The same thing can happen to institutions like hospitals if they get drugs from only one source.

  • Economy
    • Not all drugs end up being profitable or in large demand. In those cases, manufacturers may choose to stop producing them.
    • Drug manufacturers may also limit their drug production for other business reasons.

Regardless, the Canadian government does not want every American ordering from Canadian pharmacies.

Whether or not Americans help cause Canadian drug shortages, the Canadian government remains wary. This is in no small part due to the Trump administration’s openly stated interest in importing Canadian drugs.[6] American politicians believe that doing so would make prescriptions cheaper for Americans. But the Canadian government isn’t open to discuss it for the time being. Currently, it maintains concern for keeping any Canadian drug shortages to a minimum.

A Canadian goose is leading several goslings across a body of water.

Despite that, it seems like not all Canadians are against helping people order online.

While Canadians do worry about their drug supply, they aren’t unsympathetic. For instance, Health Canada notes that online pharmacies can be risky.[7] But they don’t discourage them.

Even pharmacies like the Olde Walkerville Pharmacy in Windsor have given medical caravans from America a warm welcome. But according to one such caravan traveler, Quinn Nystrom, the welcome was still accompanied by some criticism. 

A bald eagle is at its nest feeding an eaglet.

And the FDA is not entirely against Americans ordering from Canadian pharmacies either.

Likewise, the FDA has its own criticism against foreign drug importation. But the institution is not entirely against it. 

In general, importing drugs from other countries is seen as illegal to the FDA.[8] It’s mainly out of a concern for safety. If the FDA has not overseen a drug, then they can’t determine if it’s safe for use. That goes for foreign drugs even if they have been approved by their own country’s health institution.

Despite that, the FDA will allow foreign drug importation for certain scenarios. For instance, you can do so if you import no more than a three-month supply. You may also be allowed if there is a foreign drug not yet in America that can treat your serious health condition.

A man is holding a credit card in one hand and typing into his laptop with the other to order from an online Canadian pharmacy.

So, for the time being, you can order from Canadian pharmacies—just be sure to follow the FDA’s guidelines.

In short, Canadians are certainly concerned about their supply and well-being. They don’t want America as a whole to look to them for medication. This could use up too much of their own supply that Canadians need for their own health. 

But Canadians aren’t against helping some Americans out here and there. And the FDA isn’t entirely set against the idea either.

So for the time being, you’re legally allowed to import Canadian drugs so long as you follow the FDA’s guidelines.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.