Zyrtec from Canada?
May 7, 2004 6:20 PM   Subscribe

It's all the cat's fault. I have cat allergies and the only thing that's worked so far is Zyrtec. Great, only the problem is that my insurance company thinks that a fair co-pay for this particular miracle drug is $35 for a month's supply. A quick Google search turned up a lot of (supposedly) Canadian companies willing to sell me branded and generic Zyrtec at much lower prices. My question: is it safe to order prescription drugs -- assuming you've actually been prescribed them by your doctor, which I was -- through online Canadian sources?
posted by baltimore to Health & Fitness (19 answers total)
My god, no! Do you realize that all our medicines up here are derived from rendered seal fat? And not from those cute little pups you see the hunters bashing with baseball clubs, no, but unhealthy, diseased seal pups that hang out on the dark street corners in Nootokshoosh.

Just say No to Canadian Drugs. Except BC pot, which apparently is pretty damn righteous.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 PM on May 7, 2004

Seriously, though, what do you mean "is it safe"? If they're legitimate suppliers, of course they're safe. Us Canucks aren't exactly reknown for our fraudulent, American-poisoning, make-a-fast-buck schemes. Hell, one of your own senate-critters donates his paycheque to a drug-runner bus that gets seniors over the border so they can get cheap drugs.

Name names. Maybe someone will be able to tell you whether a particular company is legit.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:34 PM on May 7, 2004

baltimore, email me and I will put you directly in touch with the owner of a very good Canadian prescription service. He can address your questions.
posted by anathema at 8:03 PM on May 7, 2004

five fresh fish: I think he may be asking about whether it's legally safe to "import" the drugs, not necessarily about whether they're safe medically.
posted by hootch at 12:42 AM on May 8, 2004

It's my understanding that you can import up to a three months' supply of any medication that is not controlled in the US for personal use. (By "not controlled" I mean you can't import things like narcotics, even though you can get some of these with a doctor's prescription here. Zyrtec is of course fine. And by "import" I mean you can bring them in personally, or have them mailed to you.)

You're supposed to have a US prescription if the medication requires a prescription in this country, but pharmacies in some countries don't enforce this (Canadian ones typically do, however), and customs basically never checks. I know people who have ordered from pharmacies in the UK with good results, and if you check Google, you'll find plenty of folks reporting successfully ordering things from Mexican pharmacies too. (As Dave Attell said in his show about Tijuana, "In the US, many drugs require a doctor's prescription. In Mexico, you're the doctor!")
posted by kindall at 1:06 AM on May 8, 2004

Some of these Canadian places are not Canadian, even if they say they are in their names. I ordered Allegra and its equivalent from one of these "Canadian" stores: the stuff came in the mail from Fiji. I also ordered it from New Zealand. Both were cheap, the real deal, and it arrived fairly fast. But the shipping costs meant I was paying about $80 for a month's supply.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:12 AM on May 8, 2004

Response by poster: Sorry if I offended our friends to the north. Didn't mean to imply that all your medicine was rendered back bacon, distilled with Molson...

By "safe," I mean, are these for real, or will I be paying for sugar pills or other such placebos? I've ordered a lot of stuff through the 'net, just not medicine before this.
posted by baltimore at 5:44 AM on May 8, 2004

Response by poster: Also, to Mo Nickels' point, it struck me as a little suspicious that every company was claiming to be Canadian. Kinda like all the Rays Pizza places in NYC.
posted by baltimore at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2004

It's over the counter in Canada--i take it every day.

I've bought Stanley Extra Strength Allergy Relief --Cetirizine Hydrocloride (generic), and Reactine (pfizer's otc brandname there), from 2 diff. places in Canada. Nonrx.com and canadapharmacy.com

It took a week or 2 to get here, but it was fine...buy a lot at once.
posted by amberglow at 6:47 AM on May 8, 2004

and i think i have the same insurance as you, baltimore : >

(i really think that because claritin is now otc, they're trying to get people to use that instead--but it doesn't work as well for me)
posted by amberglow at 6:53 AM on May 8, 2004

oh,also, i got free shipping--XpressPost, whatever that is. (i think because of the quantity)
posted by amberglow at 7:22 AM on May 8, 2004

The governor of Minnesota (IIRC, it could be Michigan) actually recommended that the people in the state buy their prescription drugs from Canadian sources. It was basically a middle-finger to the feds in response to the staggering drop in federal money coming in. It seems insane to me that a state would be in such dire straights that it recommend to its citizens that they spend their hard earned dough (the lubricating jelly of the economy!) in another country, but then, it's a crazy world we live in.

Here in Nebraska we get public service messages on the radio all the time that say "Buy generic drugs, they're the same thing as more expensive name-brands" which is as close as these Smurfs will get to telling you to go to Canada.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:50 AM on May 8, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks amberglow, I'll look into those. And I too tried the OTC Claritin, but it's not as strong as the cat...

(BTW, nothing against cats, but I am incredibly allergic to them. When my father-in-law died late last year, there was nowhere for his 14-year-old cat to go, so we took him in. It's allergy medicine for me for the duration.)
posted by baltimore at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2004

If the prescription medicine scene is so bad in the USA that at least two of the states are telling people to shop across the border, why on earth isn't something being done about it?

I still don't follow you, baltimore. Why would any reputable drug retailer sell you sugar pills? That'd be a helluva way to end up with dead customers and large lawsuits.

Granted, I don't have to buy my meds over the Internet, but it shouldn't be very difficult to tell whether the site is legitimate. Contact details, stuff like that...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:14 AM on May 8, 2004

[footnote: I've considered more than once setting up a MeFriends supply chain. If it's OTC, I've no problem picking the stuff up at the local Pharmasave and shipping it off to ya.]
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2004

why on earth isn't something being done about it?

Well, because drug companies want to make the most money possible, and they can create a captive market if they can convince people that overseas drugs are going to kill them.

Who do you think contributes more to campaigns? Old people, or drug companies? And try mentioning "universal health coverage" in some states and you'll be branded a communist, tarred, feathered and run out of town. People are st00pid here. There's no encouragement for the development of independent thought -- not in the schools, nor on TV, nor in church.

The thing is, (sorry for the political rant), Republicans have been trying to eliminate any and all forms of state-provided services. But people like these services. So the current administration has been "starving the beast"; they slash taxes, and run up a big enough deficits so that the states are basically forced to cut social programs. So the governors are starting to get creative about it.

If the bastards want to starve our social programs, we'll starve their pocketbooks. Go buy your drugs from Canada. Don't buy brand-name drugs. Starve the beast.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:45 AM on May 8, 2004

XPress Post "translates" to Priority Mail at the border; when it hits the US it gets the same service as if you'd mailed it inter-US via Priority Mail.
posted by mrbill at 10:21 AM on May 8, 2004

It seems insane to me that a state would be in such dire straights that it recommend to its citizens that they spend their hard earned dough (the lubricating jelly of the economy!) in another country

Well, it's not that bad. See, we pay them in U.S. dollars, which they have to convert to Canadian dollars to spend in their country. They do this by trading the U.S. dollars to someone who wants to buy something from the U.S., which means that the money will be back in the U.S. in short order in exchange for some locally-manufactured goods or services, thus ensuring that our economy remains strong!
posted by kindall at 1:26 PM on May 8, 2004

Dollars are like SCO stock. You can only short them if you can find a sucker willing to buy them.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:34 PM on May 8, 2004

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