Understand the Issue



Personal prescription importation from certified, trusted, and legitimate Canadian pharmacies has been used by millions of Americans for more than a decade as a safe and affordable alternative to the exorbitant prescription drug prices in the U.S. For decades, Americans with access to Canada have travelled to brick-and-mortar Canadian pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. In fact, elected officials would often take buses of constituents across the border to do so, including Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont (now Sen. Sanders), Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and many others.

The internet has expanded access to many of these same pharmacies for Americans who don’t live close to the U.S.-Canadian border. 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.



The high price of brand name drugs in the U.S. has created a serious health crisis.

Studies estimate that at least 35 million Americans fail to adhere to their prescribed drug regimens due to cost. This means millions of people, often the elderly with chronic health conditions, are either skipping doses, splitting pills, or forgoing medications completely.

This is a burden to the U.S. healthcare system due to primary and secondary health issues created by non-adherence. Non-adherence to prescription drug regimens is estimated to cost up to $300 billion in avoidable healthcare costs in the U.S. annually, representing 3-10% of total U.S. healthcare costs (Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 2014).

This is a burden and a hardship for individuals and their family members. The high cost of health maintenance drugs often forces individuals to choose between their medications and gas, food, or even their mortgage. Millions who need medications to treat conditions from asthma and COPD to high cholesterol to arthritis pain are at the mercy of drug makers who can charge “whatever the market will bear.” Caregivers – who are often family members – also face hard health care decisions, as they are responsible for the financial and physical administration of health care, including maintenance drugs. In some cases, we know caregivers will pay out of their own pockets for prescriptions to ensure that their loved one can take their high-priced health maintenance medications, often placing a financial strain on other family members as well as the patient.

This is a burden to the American taxpayer. Net spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. hit $310 billion in 2015, an 8.5% increase over 2014, and this figure is only expected to increase (IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, 2016). Many individuals who import their medications from licensed Canadian pharmacies are on Medicare or Medicaid. When these individuals cannot afford their health maintenance drugs, the resulting non-adherence snowballs into health complications that can easily result in otherwise avoidable hospitalizations. In turn, government healthcare programs – and thus American taxpayers – pick up the tab.

These are untenable situations. But, we know there is a solution available today.



Personal prescription importation gives millions of people access to critical health maintenance medications at a 50-80% savings, providing a necessary lifeline for those that cannot afford medications in the U.S. This lifeline is especially critical for those on a fixed income, such as seniors.

Studies and reviews confirm that credentialed online pharmacies are safe, providing compliant, safe medications for verified prescription medications. 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). Visit our About CPPI page for more safety guidelines.

As lawmakers struggle to address the issue of high drug prices, facing intense resistance from the pharmaceutical manufacturers, allowing personal prescription importation from Canada is the simplest, most immediate solution to provide Americans with reasonable access to safe, affordable prescription medications.

There is strong public support and bipartisan Congressional support for personal prescription importation. Indeed, 72% of Americans are in favor of allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from Canada, and 74% believe this solution would be effective in keeping prescription drug costs down (Kaiser Family Foundation, August 2015). The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act – which would protect access to safe, affordable drugs from credentialed Canadian pharmacies – has support from numerous Republican, Democrat and Independent Members of Congress, in the House and the Senate.

To learn more about this legislation and how to contact your Members of Congress, visit our Contact Congress page.