I am curious about how insulin purchases work in Canada, and hoping that some of our Canadian friends can enlighten me!
I understand that you can purchase insulin without prescription, is that correct?
What are street prices for a long acting insulin like Lantus, and a short acting insulin like Humalog or Novolog?
How about FIASP street prices?
Are there large differences in pricing between different pharmacies? is it cheaper to buy online when in Canada?
Thanks for satisfying my curiosity! These practical details may actually be very useful to those of us ending up, accidentally, in Canada for a weekend
Of course, I’ve no real experience here except that I did similar research earlier this year. Still planning my run for the border, but for now my order with Mark’s (Thanks again, @Eric) is holding me over. What I was at least told was that a paper rx from a US doctor would be handy. The pharmacists there do the prescribing on site. I’m not real convinced that the paper script is essential to tell the truth, and it seemed like this might vary from individual pharmacist to pharmacist. When pressed on the phone about this, the two with whom I spoke seemed to say it was a matter of peace of mind for them in dosage rather than an essential, but I never confirmed this in person.
Eager to hear what those with actual experience might say.
The last time I re-ordered Omnipods, I bought some insulin from the same website that I order the pods from. I did not give them a prescription because hey - it is Canada - and the pharmacist knows I have diabetes.
Remember the prices are in Canadian dollars, so you need to multiply by 0.8 to get US dollars. All the insulin prices are on the website including Fiasp. The prices are pretty much the same as online as at any other walk-in pharmacy. Within a couple of dollars
Yes - you do not need a prescription. The pharmacist issues to you similar to other “over the counter drugs”. You may need to be able to demonstrate that you have diabetes to the pharmacist.
There is only one price. The street price is what everyone pays. It includes a drug price and a dispensing fee. There are government limits on both drug prices and dispensing fees. The only differences in price between pharmacies are the dispensing fees but usually they are small (a couple of bucks). See the website above for real prices.
FISAP is the same price as Novorapid (which is what Novolog is called in Canada). EDIT - actually FIASP is a few bucks cheaper than Novorapid.
Not really. Not worth the higher price of gas to drive around and find a bargain.
My goodness. These are pretty unbelievable prices for us in the US.
Curiously inhaled insulin is on the prescription drug list - so it requires a prescription.
Given that Afrezza is not available in Canada, this is not really relevant, but should Afrezza one day become available you will need a prescription.
Yes - BUT - I bough gas in the US a couple of weeks ago for $3/gal. As I was driving to work this morning I noticed gas was $1.41 Canadian/litre which works out to $4.30 US/gal. So I pay 140% higher for gas.
Then again, I can live without buying gas, but PWD cannot live without insulin so it is not a fair comparison.
Almost like a copay price…
@Eric pointed this out before, but this shouldn’t be as difficult with a pharmacy like Mark’s (for US buyers), because they have a toll-free 877#, so as long as you direct the prescription filler to their number, they will fax the rx there as they would any other local rx.
Here are their instructions:
NEW RX ORDERS: SIMPLE AS 1 - 2 OR 3:
(1) Phone toll free 1-877-888-9265
(2) Scan prescription to firstname.lastname@example.org
(3) or; fax prescription to 1-877-888-9805
I pay about $140 Canadian for two boxes of penfills (so 3000 units) of Fiasp (they’re not yet covered by provincial healthcare, but I do get 80% reimbursed by insurance through my employer). We only have one price in Canada. To be honest, I’ve never understood how there are different prices in the US, like $100 for an insurance company and $400 for an individual customer, makes no sense at all to me.
It doesn’t make any sense to anyone else either… and the ultimate irony is that secret backroom rebates (which are what has driven list prices up) are defended as a practice of the “free market” when in reality they’re pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum
Be aware, though, that when you buy from one of these pharmacies, you pay a lot less than in the US, but a lot more than a Canadian customer walk-in. The prices are for US customers - about 2x those in Canada I think.
For instance, at Mark’s, a great pharmacy, they list 1 box of 5x FIASP pens for $US110, which is $Can135, which is a bit more than 2x the cost listed by @Aaron and about 2x the cost listed by @Jen.
@Michel- did you stock up with diabetic supplies while in Canada?
I bought some Lantus, some Novolog, and some FIASP!
Here are my findings: Buying insulin while in Canada
Thanks for reminding me! I should really have posted the link on this thread earlier.
Wow. I can’t help noticing the number of clicks on the link above (buying insulin from Canada): 644 people clicked on it. I have never seen this number of clicks.
I know I’m late to this, but did you have any problems? I can’t tell if it’s “illegal” to buy insulin in person from Canada and want to be sure it’s safe.
Yes, I have ordered several times now. Mark’s does require a prescription to be faxed first now. But it’s very smooth.
I also have crossed the border by car several times and have both disclosed and not disclosed the purchases. I would err on not disclosing if you are buying a 3 month supply or less (that’s the permittable amount, I believe, though others may have more current info). I’m a little out of the loop, because the border has been closed for COVID. Last I checked, it still was? Hence, my recent order through Mark’s.
Both ways are very easy. I also order Jardiance from Canada, since it was SOOO much cheaper that way.
Welcome @MlleCWalls, we have always declared our insulin on our forms when going back into the US and have never had a problem. It is super easy in Canada, although if you are buying a significant amount call ahead and make sure they order it, since each pharmacy only has a limited supply.