Safety first: Verifying an online pharmacy is legitimate

For the millions of Americans who cannot afford their prescription medications in the U.S., purchasing safe, affordable medications from credentialed online Canadian pharmacies is often the only choice. At CPPI, we hear every single day from people who need medications to live, to breathe, to reduce pain from arthritis and other painful conditions, and to maintain their health and a quality of life that we are all entitled to.

Unfortunately, many of the medications that treat those conditions have exorbitant costs that more and more Americans are forced to pay for out of pocket. As our research shows, those high costs drive nearly 1 in 3 Americans to avoid filling prescriptions, and 1 in 4 to skip doses or split pills. Millions of others seek relief by purchasing prescriptions from safe, credentialed online Canadian pharmacies that offer the same brand name medications, approved by Canada’s version of the FDA (Health Canada), at 50-80% less than in the U.S.

Personal prescription importation from credentialed international pharmacies is an important lifeline for millions. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that more than 5 million Americans fill their prescriptions outside the U.S. annually, with approximately one million of those Americans using a licensed Canadian pharmacy.

It is important, however, for consumers to ensure they are working with a credentialed, safe online pharmacy and receiving legitimate medications. A recent report from NetNames, a domain management and online security company, highlights the dangers of counterfeit medications and indicates an uptick in fraudsters targeting individuals with such counterfeit medications.

We believe safety is critically important, and encourage anyone purchasing medications online – from within the U.S. or from pharmacies beyond our borders – take careful steps to confirm the credentials of these pharmacies. We provide guidelines for doing so on our Education & Resources page.

Studies and reviews confirm that credentialed online pharmacies are safe, providing compliant, safe medications for verified prescriptions. For example, since 2002 pharmacies certified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association have maintained a 100% perfect safety record while serving more than 10 million Americans. Further, research from the American Enterprise Institute demonstrated that credentialed sites sold “good quality medicines” (American Enterprise Institute, 2016).

Education and verification is a powerful tool and an important step when seeking affordable prescriptions online. We encourage you to review our resources, along with the resources of our partners PharmacyChecker and