Are you under medication that is connected to your health care, you have to ensure you take the accurate steps to gain access to these drugs in Canada?
This article is all about prescription drugs in Canada. There are two major categories of medications in Canada:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs: OTC drugs are drugs that you can buy without having to get written permission from a doctor.
- Prescription drugs: They are drugs known to be meant for use only by the individual to whom they are prescribed. For you to have access to this rug, you must get a doctor’s prescription first and then take it to the pharmacy in Canada to have filled.
Now, let us talk about Canada’s riveting prescription drug industry, shall we?
Are your prescription drugs legal in Canada and do they require a prescription?
The first question you should ask is, how your drugs are classified in Canada? Canada’s Prescription Drug List helps you to find out if your medication requires a prescription in Canada. The list will help you ascertain that the drugs found in your medications are legal in Canada because if you bring in illegal drugs into the country, that will surely be a very bad way to kick off your Canadian adventure (unless you have intentions of doing a tour of the country’s criminal justice system).
Am I permitted to bring my prescription medication to Canada with me?
Health Canada generally, allows you to come into the country with the medication you need for either a one-time treatment or a 90-day supply. This can be done for either yourself or for anyone traveling with you who is is under your care, dependent children are included.
Nevertheless, you must first, adhere to the steps outlined above to ensure that your drugs are legal in Canada.
Additionally, you can avoid problems about bringing these medications into Canada by packaging the drug either in a hospital or pharmacy-dispensed package, the original retail packaging, or having the original label attached to it showing the content of the health product is and what it is used for.
What do I do when I need to fill my prescription?
Now, you are in Canada and the medication you brought with you is on the verge of finishing, well, it is high time you experienced the rollercoaster ride that is the Canadian health care system!
First, you need a prescription from a Canadian doctor.
One thing you must first understand is that you cannot use a foreign prescription to get prescription medication in Canada. This means that you have to obtain a prescription from a Canadian doctor, else, you will not give the prescription drugs by the pharmacist.
You may want to find out if you have to go about getting a prescription from a Canadian doctor? The good news is that there are a few possible routes:
- Walk-in clinic: A walk-in clinic is usually faster and short-term as it permits you to just walk in and wait to see a doctor. Therefore, we recommend this if you need your prescription and you need it immediately. How do you locate a walk-in closest to you? Of course, you can use Medimap. Nevertheless, the disadvantage of walk-in clinics is that they can have very long wait times. To make it easier for you, ensure you bring your foreign prescription along with you so that you can explain your needs to the doctor. If you are in Canada for a temporal visit such as temporary workers and tourists then walk-in clinics are a great option for you. Additionally, if as a permanent resident, you require care immediately, you can make use of walk-in clinics.
- Family doctor: This is normally slower and long-term but it is suitable for people residing in Canada long-term. The essence of a family doctor is to regularly see yourself and your family members to monitor your health long-term. This will assist you in managing your prescriptions.
Furthermore, the provincial health authority organizes family doctors at the provincial level, therefore, you have to consult them to find out how to access one in your province. In some provinces you have to sign up for a waitlist for a family doctor, sadly, it can take up to months or even years to be assigned one. The best way to go about it is to reach out to clinics directly and ask if they are taking on new patients or you can as well ask friends if their doctors are accepting new patients.
- On-campus doctor: This is tailor-made for international students therefore if you are a foreign student in Canada, there may either be available doctors on-campus, or they may have an existing relationship with a nearby clinic. All you have to do is to consult with your school to find out if they can provide you with guidance as to where to get a prescription.
However, you should note that in cases of a medical emergency or you need immediate care, contact 9-1-1 or go to the Emergency Room at your nearest hospital.
Try to research the cost before you buy.
We all know that Canada has a free universal health care system, nevertheless, this does not apply to prescription drugs.
As a temporary resident in Canada whether visitor, student, or worker, we recommend that you should have some kind of insurance. Moreover, this is compulsory in some cases like participants in International Experience Canada (IEC) and international students.
However, if by any means you need prescription drugs in Canada, you should, first of all, speak to your insurance provider in advance to know the cost the insurance covers and the costs that are not.
Canadian permanent residents are not left out too. Though you can access Canada’s publicly-funded health care system, you still have to take care of the cost of prescription drugs gotten outside of the hospital setting such as prescription drugs bought from the pharmacy while the health care system takes care of the one administered while you’re in the hospital.
Additionally, ensure you check with your provincial health authority because some provinces have their own provincial prescription drug plans, to find out how to register for the plan and what is covered.
Furthermore, most Canadian employers offer health plans to their employees and this will take care of some costs of prescription drugs. Lastly, before you can access the provincial health care plan, you sometimes need to reside in a province for a certain number of months, so, you may want to consider purchasing private health insurance during this time you may want to consider purchasing private health insurance.
Finally, you now know everything about having access to your prescription drugs in Canada and how to cover the cost of these drugs.