Buying insulin while in Canada

If two people went to the pharmacy could they get 6 months supply? Meaning both for myself and my husband. It would only be for my daughter back in the states as she wouldn’t be with us. My husband and I don’t use insulin but how would they know if it’s OTC.

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Are novorapid pens cheaper in Toronto or Montreal?

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@Lmaty, the pharmacy will let you buy as much as you want. But the issue is when you come back to the US: theoretically, there is only tolerance for 3 months at customs. However, we have not had any trouble with more than 6 months ourselves.

One thing though: we were with our son (T1), and we had a paper prescription for him with us just in case. In the end, for us it did not matter, but for you who knows. Instead of going with your husband, I would suggest you go with your daughter, and bring a prescription with you. If your doctor is nice, she may agree to give you a prescription for 2* what you need, and then you can bring all you need with you and not fear anything. But, again, I think the quantity will not be an issue.

Be ready to tell the pharmacist there is no need for a prescription in Canada, btw, many do not know that.

Prices: I don’t know about Toronto. In Montreal, I found slightly different prices between pharmacies. You can read that in more detail in the thread above.

I did and thank you!

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Also, remember to call ahead, or give the pharmacy a couple of days if you are planning on buying a large number of vials or penfills. They only have so much on hand, but can order it in.

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17 posts were split to a new topic: Buying insulin in Canada: Costco is cheapest source

But when you’re buying it otc without a prescription, guess who defines how much a 3 month supply is… the buyer.

I really can’t imagine anyone having a problem unless they were trying to bring back quantities large enough that it looked like they were running an import for sale operation…
I honestly think customs is more worried about other things than diabetics bringing back some insulin.

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Did you declare the Insulin?

The only trouble I have ever had at a border was trying to smuggle in a dozen ears of corn. And reimport a nectarine and tomato my mom had hauled along from California. It was a border between Montreal and Vermont. I got caught, and America was not impressed. Truthfully, I had a ridiculous amount of cheese in the trunk. But he didn’t happen to notice that. And I didn’t realize that my mom had a bunch of fruit sitting in the trunk. Anyhow, my point is that most times they just flagged me on through. It would never occur to me to declare the insulin - no matter where it came from. And EH flies to and from Canada 3x a year and no one ever looks at the stuff.

Clearly I am not suggesting breaking any laws.

I am curious though because this continues to be a popular thread.


I did mention we had insulin when they pulled us over in the US for a random inspection, but I did not say it was Canadian insulin. They did not even ask for us to open the insulin thermoses: they were totally casual about it. They did check the rest of our gear for smugglies :slight_smile:

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As long as you don’t have fruit, firewood, firearms, narcotics , or undocumented immigrants, I really don’t think they care at all unless you’re actually running a criminal smuggling operation… if they ever questioned me about insulin I’d just assure them it was for personal use. I’d be highly surprised if they’d even ask about it unless it was like a pallet full.


After reading through these posts, I am totally flabbergasted that people in the US are having such a difficult time getting their insulin. The prices that people are quoting for the cost of insulin in the US is staggering! Who can afford to pay prices like this out-of-pocket?
I’m Canadian and I live in Montreal. I pay $125 for a box of 5 300ml pens of Lantus. I actually have a mini stockpile of about 10 boxes of Lantus in my fridge, and was thinking to take them with me when I visit my parents in Clearwater, Florida next week. My mother has Type 2 as well, but she’s covered by RAMQ, our Quebec government health insurance, and has her insulin shipped to her in Florida from Monteal every month. We have pharmacare in our province, so many medications for seniors over the age of 60 are free.
It’s difficult for me to believe that people who live in such a great country are going into debt just to pay for a needed medication. There has to be a solution for this, but with the branches of the US government ar war with one another, it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be a solution any time soon.


Welcome, @Bastien!

Good morning,

Just joined the forum. I had scouted it out before as I was vacationing last week in Canada and wanted to know if the cost of insulin is cheaper there as I had heard.

I had been paying $50 for a vial of Lantus in Orlando, Florida. My insurance would not cover my last prescription and the cost was to me was now $284. I am also on Invokana. I was started on it last year and was able to use the coupons. The coupons expired and the cost for me was now $480 for 30 pills. My doctor wrote a prescription for Januvia instead. The cost for that was about the same, but since it was new the coupon for it took off $150 dollars. I let my doctor know I was going to Canada and they gave me paper prescriptions of all 3 medications to take to Canada.

The Lantus did not require a prescription as many have stated. I bought a box of the pens for $100CAN ($75US). This is the equivalent of 1.5 months of insulin for me so I paid $75 instead of $420 I would pay in the US.

The Invokana required a Canadian prescription. The pharmacist told me I could go a walk-in clinic and get a prescription there. The doctor there met with me for about 10 minutes and asked the right questions to make sure I was not a sham and trying to resell. I bought a 3 month supply for $300CAN ($225US). That would have cost me $1440 in the US. I did have to pay $60CAN ($45US) for the doctor visit.


Thanks @WayneJ, that is a fantastic result. So glad you were able to get your medicines at a reasonable price. Canada is truly a god send for those that cannot afford the prices in the US, maybe not for every drug but definitely for insulin.

That’s the thing though… almost nobody is actually paying the list price out of pocket… it’s basically a nationwide insurance scam…

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Thanks for the forum Chris.

On customs, the customs form was computerized at the Toronto airport. The only applicable item asked is if I had more than $800 of gifts. The answer was no. There then was a live person at the end who asked nature of trip. Answered vacation which it was. Everything went smoothly from the customs standpoint.

Zero safety concerns. The labeling on the Lantus was the exact same as in the US with the exception the Lantus said it was made in Quebec as opposed to a US location. The Invokana was the same with different packaging.

Just wanted to let everyone know my experience.

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This was posted earlier today on the tudiabetes forum (copied directly)

Another poster is referencing this pharmacy: https://rxcanada4less.com/

Yes, they ship temperature sensitive medications (insulin)

In addition, the Minnesotans are going on a trip North again:

June Caravan to Canada

Are you Sick of the High Cost of Insulin in the US; Buy Insulin for Less in Canada

— FREE Bus Leaves Friday, June 28th @ 7 a.m. CT; Returns Sunday, June 30th

Join Quinn Nystrom (MN Chapter Leader), as I co-lead a group in partnership with [T1International]
and [Health Care Voter]
from Minnesota to London, Ontario, Canada to raise awareness about insulin affordability, and to purchase insulin that costs a 10th of the price! An added bonus is that we’ll be going to The Banting House which pays homage to the discovery of insulin almost 100 years ago. The bus will make stops in Madison, WI, Chicago, IL & Lansing, MI to pick-up other participants.

Deadline to register: Wednesday, June 19th at midnight

Click the link for the itinerary and information about accommodations and other costs (bus is FREE, and we have hotel scholarships if money is a factor for going on the trip). Just hit reply to this e-mail to ask questions about that if interested.

Details of the Weekend Trip:

Host Contact Info: Quinn, MNinsulin4all@gmail.com

For More Info. and to Register: T1 International


Where were you in Canada? @Bastien, above, says he paid $125 for Lantus.
Trying to figure out the best place to go.


I live in Montreal, Quebec.


Toronto. Purchased at a pharmacy inside of a Metro supermarket. Metro is a big chain that has 350 stores in Ontario and Quebec so I would imagine the prices would be the same at whichever one you go to. The specific one I went to 2021 Kennedy Road, Scarborough, Ontario.