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Are CIPA-Approved Online Canadian Pharmacies Safe?

June 9, 2022

online pharmacy safety

CIPA Approved Pharmacies

More people are buying medications online than ever before. According to a recent study, more than one-third of Americans have used an online pharmacy to purchase their needed meds.

Of those people, 31% used an online pharmacy for the first time in 2020 – and many of them saved an average of 50% by choosing a CIPA-approved online Canadian pharmacy.

The vast majority of those first-time purchasers indicated that they liked the experience enough to repeat it in the future. Most people will agree that, of all the places we buy things online, pharmacies need to be among the safest.

This leads some to wonder:

Are online pharmacies safe? If so, which online pharmacies are safe?

The stakes are high. If you accidentally end up purchasing from an unscrupulous or unsafe online pharmacy, you risk:

  • Accidentally purchasing a drug that you don’t have a prescription for
  • Receiving the incorrect medication, or a drug that is inauthentic (and possibly even harmful)
  • Getting scammed, or having your banking information leaked or stolen

As a result, you may be out of money. You will likely be incredibly stressed. And you may not even get what you need to provide relief for your symptoms or move toward your health goals.

Figuring out which pharmacies you can trust can take a lot of time and investigative action. However, there’s a good chance that you don’t have the time to do that work.

You shouldn’t have to.

As it turns out, a highly-trusted organization – The Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) – has already done the hard work for you.

Are Canadian Online Pharmacies Safe? It Depends

Online Canadian and international pharmacies are often completely safe to buy from, but it’s important to realize that a well-designed website and conveniently-available information don’t always equal a trustworthy pharmacy.

Some red flags to look out for in an illegitimate or unsafe online pharmacy include:

  • Claims that the drugs on offer may provide a ‘miracle cure’ for chronic conditions
  • Not requiring that patients have a valid prescription prior to purchasing
  • Failing to have accreditation through widely-recognized organizations, like CIPA

That last point is key.

If you know that a Canadian pharmacy siteis certified by a trusted self-regulatory association, you know that they’re adhering to strict safety and security standards.

This can be enough to simplify your search. Approval from a reputable organization, like CIPA, is the #1 thing you should be looking for when reviewing online pharmacies.

Think about it: The burden of figuring out whether your online pharmacy is or isn’t safe shouldn’t fall squarely on your shoulders.

You’re self-interested, but you’re not an expert.

While it’s always a good idea to do some of the homework yourself, fortunately, there are expert associations you can rely on to do the work as well.

CIPA Approved Pharmacies

What is CIPA – and What’s a CIPA-Approved Online Pharmacy?

CIPA, or the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, is an organization that oversees the quality control and safety practices of its member pharmacies in Canada and those used by its certified websites internationally. Since it was first established in 2002, CIPA has enjoyed an extraordinarily high (as in, 100%) safety record.

As a result, CIPA and CIPA-approved online pharmacies have excellent reputations.

But what sets CIPA-approved pharmacies apart?

CIPA has a series of standards that all CIPA-approved online Canadian pharmacies must adhere to.

As you’ll see in a moment, their standards are quite high.

Any online international or Canadian pharmacy that they certify is clearly invested in being a safe, credible resource for the patients they serve.

What are CIPA’s Standards for a Canadian Online Pharmacy?

CIPA’s standards are extensive. Some of the highlights include:

  • Online pharmacies seeking CIPA approval must require signed, valid, and verifiable prescriptions before patients purchase medications.
  • An applying pharmacy must obtain updated medical and demographic information from each patient before they purchase any medications. The pharmacy must also maintain a profile for each patient that includes their medication history. (This will help ensure that the patient does not take prescription drugs that don’t mix well.)
  • CIPA-approved online pharmacies must have at least one licensed pharmacist who can provide patient consultations. This pharmacist must both be on staff and be available during all hours of pharmacy operation.
  • CIPA-approved online Canadian pharmacies do not sell controlled substances.
  • CIPA also has strict rules against unsolicited spam emails and selling patient addresses to third parties.

Before approving an online pharmacy, CIPA will also require candidates to ensure that their websites are completely secure.

If you’re buying something online, particularly if it’s something highly personal like medication, you need to know that your personal and financial details won’t be compromised during or after your transaction.

To that end, CIPA requires online pharmacies to achieve certifications such as McAfee Security to boost patient confidence in their processes.

How Can I Be Sure a Pharmacy is Really CIPA-Approved?

You may regard collections of various security logos and accreditations on websites with a healthy amount of skepticism. Not everything on the internet is true – and anyone can easily paste the CIPA seal on their website without actually meeting CIPA standards.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to check.

CIPA has published a complete list of safe online pharmacy websites that meet all of their standards. You can easily verify whether a pharmacy is CIPA-approved by checking to see whether its name is on CIPA’s list.

Now that we’ve discussed how to identify CIPA-approved online Canadian pharmacies, let’s discuss what that means.

How do we know that following CIPA’s standards means that an online Canadian pharmacy is truly safe?

The National Bureau of Economic Research sought to answer that specific question – and whew, did they ever.

CIPA Approved Pharmacies

Recent Study Finds CIPA-Approved Pharmacies Safe and Affordable

Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research obtained over 300 samples of prescription drugs sold by various CIPA members – online Canadian and international pharmacies.

While doing so, the researchers also collected a wide range of accompanying data.

They wanted to know how much pharmacies were charging for their products, information about the history and reputation of the pharmacy, and (after analysis) the quality and authenticity of the drugs for sale.

At the end of the study, the researchers came to the following conclusions:

  • The safety of prescription drugs obtained from the United States and Canadian pharmacies showed little difference.
  • American prices for prescription drugs, however, were more than 50% higher than the prices for equivalent drugs from CIPA-approved online Canadian pharmacies.
  • Online Canadian pharmacies tend to provide more options for customers to purchase their meds.

The researchers also noted that the CIPA-approved online pharmacies all provided clear information to help their online consumers make informed decisions about their meds prior to purchase.

You may now be wondering how CIPA-approved pharmacies can possibly undercut the costs of American pharmacies while, at the same time, offering discounts as steep as 90%.

Here’s a little insight into the cost savings (and convenience) you can experience when you choose to work with a CIPA-approved online pharmacy.

How Can CIPA-Approved Online Canadian Pharmacies Offer Such Low Prices?

If you’re used to the skyrocketing prescription drug prices in the United States, you might be a little suspicious of the price-slashing you see at an international or online Canadian pharmacy.

Much of the time, prices that seem too good to be true can’t be trusted.

At CIPA-approved online pharmacies, that’s simply not the case. There are simple reasons that Canadian pharmacies are able to offer lower prices, which include:

  • Not working with insurance. Canadian pharmacies don’t work with American insurance, which may not seem like a good thing at first glance. However, because of inflated premiums and increasing co-pays, insurance often doesn’t actually result in lower prices for Americans at the pharmacy counter.

    Meanwhile, avoiding the significant amounts of paperwork and logistics that accompany insurance allows online Canadian pharmacies to save time. They’re then able to pass those savings directly to you.

  • Canadian government price control. Canadian pharmacies operate under regulations from the Canadian Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, a group that specifically works to make sure that medicine prices aren’t too high.

    This type of system, while common in many countries across the globe, just doesn’t exist in the United States. By offering medications from beyond Canada also, CIPA-certified websites expand on the benefits you get from the price control regimes in other countries too, which can really help multiply your savings.

  • Mail-ordering benefits that benefit everyone. Since many CIPA-approved pharmacy websites don’t have to pay for big warehouses and retail sites to store and sell medication, they have lower operating costs. They’re able to work with affordable approved pharmacies to send authentic brand-name medications to your front door, which is convenient for you and cheaper for you as well.

    Many online pharmacies even offer 90-day packs of chronic medications, which saves shipping and packaging costs. The result? You get cheaper medications and have fewer refills to manage. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
CIPA Approved Pharmacies

Are Drug Prices through a CIPA-Approved Online Pharmacy Really Lower?

Because of various international and Canadian government regulations, worldwide sourcing from CIPA-approved pharmacies often can provide staggeringly low prices.

Want a few examples? Here’s just a peek into the pricing structure at NorthWestPharmacy.com – we exclusively source through CIPA-approved online pharmacies:

If you’re interested in benefiting from the same convenient ordering processes and low costs, you’re in the right place. We’re here to help.

How to Purchase Your Prescription Meds from CIPA-Approved Online Pharmacies?

In the wake of inflated insurance costs and precipitously rising prescription drug prices, you might be excited to hear that online Canadian pharmacies can connect you with brand-name drugs for less.

We know that you need to be 100% sure that the pharmacies you trust while on your health journey are legitimate and ready to serve you.

That’s why we’re passionate about taking the stress and risk out of prescription drug shopping. Whether you need assistance with our ordering processes or wish to speak with a pharmacist about your prescription(s), we’re here for you.

For your safety, we require valid prescriptions. Once you have a prescription from a licensed physician, we’ll happily help you search for and buy the medication you need.

NorthWestPharmacy.com Makes Working with CIPA-Approved Pharmacies Easy

Here are just a few of the ways that we make your experience as seamless and simple as possible:

  • If you have insurance and would like to work towards reimbursement for the prescription medications that you have purchased through NorthWestPharmacy.com, tell one of our friendly customer service representatives. We’ll give you a receipt that may work for insurance purposes. We recommend you check with your insurer in advance whether they will reimburse you for purchases made through NorthWestPharmacy.com but we understand that many insurers will.
  • Want personalized, real-time support as you purchase your meds? Call in, and we’ll help you order over the phone. Feel more comfortable with private, discreet ordering processes? Check out online. We also offer fax and traditional mail ordering, so you can choose the method that works best for you.
  • Interested in online-only perks, such as private ordering processes and refill reminders? NorthWestPharmacy.com offers American patients the ability to comparison shop and price-check at the click of a button, and more!

Because we make an exceptional customer experience an ongoing priority, we’re pleased to be the only online pharmacy in the world to have earned an average of 4.8/5 star rating through over 400,000+ verified customer reviews.

If you’re ready to purchase your prescription medications through a safe online Canadian pharmacy, we’re excited to help!

Call our team today at 1-866-539-5339, or simply start your ordering process online. We look forward to helping you enjoy savings on your required prescription medications!

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