Importing Prescription Drugs for Personal Use: Is the Importation of Drugs from Canada Safe?


Talk about the importation of drugs is frequently in the news. But what does that mean for Americans? Is importing prescription drugs for personal use legal? Or safe?

Online Canadian pharmacies and pharmacy referral services are well-known sources for pharmaceutical importation because Canada's pharmaceutical prices are more affordable thanks to the government's price controls on prescription drugs. The same can be said for other international pharmacies that regulate pricing on prescription drugs.

This article explains why prescriptions from Canada and other international pharmacies, especially Tier One pharmacies, are a great way to save money and includes tips for choosing a reputable company when importing prescription drugs for personal use.

Is the Importation of Drugs Legal?

The most common question people ask is, "Is the importation of drugs legal?" Importing prescription drugs for personal use is technically illegal; however, FDA guidelines permit agents to look the other way "when the quantity and purpose are clearly for personal use, and the product does not present an unreasonable risk to the user." A three-month personal supply is the recommended safe volume to purchase at any one time. So as long as your pharmaceutical importation doesn't exceed this threshold, you should be able to buy prescriptions from Canada and other countries without any issues. The current status of the importation of drugs into America is under review in an effort to allow Americans to take advantage of the lower cost.

Is it Safe to Buy Prescription Drugs From Canada?

The second most popular question people ask about pharmaceutical importation is, "Is importing prescription drugs for personal use safe?" The answer is yes — if you choose a legitimate Canadian pharmacy or pharmacy referral service. Just like any business, not all pharmacies and referral services are created equal.

What Is a Tier 1 Pharmacy?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict guidelines concerning pharmaceutical imports, but there are exceptions for countries that are known to have high regulatory standards which are equivalent to those in the United States. These countries are sometimes referred to as Tier 1. Criteria include:

  • Government review of drugs for safety and effectiveness

  • Drug labeling and promotion requirements

  • Regulations demanding adverse event reporting and removal of detrimental or ineffectual drugs from the market

The following countries are considered Tier 1 under section 802 of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Israel

  • Japan

  • New Zealand

  • Switzerland

  • South Africa

  • Member countries of the European Union or the European Economic Area (EEA).


How To Buy Prescriptions from Canada Safely

When shopping online, it's easy to fall prey to illegal pharmacies selling counterfeit, out-of-date or contaminated drugs. How can you protect yourself when shopping for prescriptions from Canada?

1. Do Your Research Before You Buy Prescriptions From Canada

Don't just order prescriptions from Canada from the first name that pops up. Research to confirm that the pharmacy or pharmacy referral service is legitimate. Look for a physical address — if they don't have a location listed, it's a red flag because rogue pharmacies often try to conceal where their operations are located.

2. Choose Licensed or Certified Providers

Certification confirms that the pharmacy has completed a thorough review and inspection process and meets the necessary safety criteria. It helps you verify that a Canadian pharmacy referral service is a respectable business before engaging in pharmaceutical importation.

Check the Canadian International Pharmacy Association's (CIPA) list of trusted online pharmacies and referral services.

3. Make Sure a Prescription Is Required

If an online pharmacy does not require a doctor's prescription, do not even consider importing prescription drugs for personal use from them. Prescription drugs are highly regulated, so this is a clear indication that the business is unscrupulous.

Importing Prescription Drugs for Personal Use

When you buy prescriptions from Canada and other countries, you can be confident that shopping at is a safe method of pharmaceutical importation. We offer high-quality medication for the whole family — and pets too. We source medications from our partner dispensaries in Tier 1 locations including Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia to provide you with top-quality name-brand and generic drugs.

Obtaining over-the-counter medications and prescriptions from Canada is safe, and we make ordering easy! You can create an account in just a few steps and start saving. Our low prices save you money, and shipping is free. If you ever have questions, contact us, and our knowledgeable staff will help.

Securely Shop for Prescriptions From Canada and other International Pharmacies at

When you shop at, you benefit from lower prescription drug prices without sacrificing safety. We pass on the savings from our trusted international partners' competitive pricing so that you can realize the value of pharmaceutical importation. Sign up and start safely importing prescription drugs for personal use today!

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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.