Filling prescriptions when visiting Canada and the UK
August 30, 2007 7:44 AM   Subscribe

In order to save money on my prescription meds, I've been mail-ordering from Canada and the UK. However, I know that the online pharmacies that handle the process add a significant markup over the in-country prices available through the respective national health care systems. Over the next four weeks, I will be in both Canada and the UK. Can I fill my prescriptions directly, with a US doctor's written prescription? If not, is there some way to obtain a local physician's prescription? (The meds are psych meds, if that makes a difference.)
posted by soulbarn to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
1. No. A pharmacist in the UK will not accept a prescription from an overseas doctor. This may be different in Canada.

2. It is quite possible. No GP's surgery has asked for my passport or proof of address when I've registered, and according to these guidelines (.doc, from the BMC) it is at the GP's discretion to treat you for free. And if you are willing to pay - my GP charges only £20 for non-NHS consults, so it may be worth it anyway. If you do seek the services of a GP, you will most likely have 2 appointments before they will prescribe anything, so factor that into your timeframe. And also keep in mind that drugs are occasionally sold under different brand names here, so you may need to bring in the leaflet so they know exactly what you need. If the script is funded by the NHS (which most are) they will only cost you £6.85 each.
posted by goo at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2007

What goo said. You might be able to seek mercy from a walk-in NHS clinic if you say you've run out of your medicine, and have a copy of your prescription, but that's basically between you and your conscience.

Canada's border towns are, I think, somewhat set up for this kind of arbitrage. I'm pretty sure, though, that you need a Canadian doctor to sign off on a scrip.
posted by holgate at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2007

Oh, and I should add that some psych meds can't be prescribed by a GP (only by a psychiatrist), but I can't find a list using google - clozapine is one I know off the top of my head. Perhaps googling '[specific drug name] gp prescription uk' will give you an idea.
posted by goo at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2007

Many Canadian doctors located near border cities will verify your US prescription (you have to take it there in person) and issue you a Canadian Rx for a small fee (like $10). He or she will give you a cursory physical exam and review your medical history (if you have copies of your most recent tests/reports from your physician, bring them with you). You are limited to bringing a 90-day supply of medication back across the border, and it must be in its original container.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:10 AM on August 30, 2007

Prescriptions in Canada pretty much aren't covered by medicare. (The exception is Quebec, where there's a monthly max amount up to which you'll pay out of pocket, just over $62 last I knew, but up to that amount drugs are regular price.)

Canadian online pharmacies that sell cross-border may mark up, but not because they lack coverage that local pharmacies do -- they're just price gouging.
posted by loiseau at 8:04 PM on August 30, 2007

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