You can buy some medicines without a prescription. You can only buy others if you have a prescription from, for example, a doctor or dentist. You can purchase all drugs at approved pharmacies and websites in Canada. You can also buy over-the-counter medicines in other places, such as grocery stores.
The Medical Products Agency decides whether you can buy a drug without a prescription or whether it should be prescription-only. They also determine which medicines may be sold in places other than pharmacies.
Over-the-counter or prescription-only
What determines whether a medicine should be over-the-counter or prescription-only is, for example, what it contains and what you want to use it for. For a drug to be over-the-counter, it must be possible to use it for self-care. It means that it should be used for minor ailments as you can make a diagnosis yourself and decide on treatment.
Some medicines are over-the-counter in smaller packages, but a prescription is required when the packages are larger. The smaller packages are suitable for more temporary self-care, while the larger ones are for more extended treatment in consultation with a doctor.
Medicines that have complicated dosages or that can cause serious side effects even at the recommended dose are prescription-only. Usually, it is a doctor who prescribes it. Other healthcare professionals, such as dentists and some district nurses, may also prescribe some medications.
Buy at a pharmacy
At Canadian pharmacies, you can buy common medicines, herbal medicines, well-established herbal medicines, and traditional herbal medicines. Only pharmacies are allowed to sell prescription drugs. All pharmacies must be approved by the Medical Products Agency and may then use the national pharmacy symbol. The pharmacy symbol is a variant of a green cross, which is a common international symbol for pharmacies.
Is my medicine available at the pharmacy?
You can find out which pharmacy or pharmacies have your medicine in stock. You can also find out about this by going to Canada Drug Direct and entering the name of your medicine in the search box. Select the correct option in the search result. Then information about the drug is displayed. Click on the “Stock Status” box.
Buy at other points of sale.
Herbal remedies and traditional herbal remedies may be sold freely and are available for purchase at pharmacies, health food stores, and grocery stores.
Some over-the-counter medicines and well-established herbal medicines may be sold in places other than pharmacies, such as grocery stores and petrol stations. Anyone who wants to sell these medicines must report to the Medical Products Agency and follow the existing regulations. All points of sale must follow the same rules.
No pharmaceutical training is required to sell the selected over-the-counter drugs. However, the seller should be able to tell you where you can get information and advice about the medicines you buy. To be able to buy over-the-counter medicines in a store, you must be at least 18 years old.
It can be convenient to shop for your drugs in a Canadian pharmacy online, and you can often get the medicines directly in your mailbox. However, not all websites are approved and therefore may not sell drugs. Approved websites have one or two symbols that give you an instinct for their status approval.
Furthermore, it would help if you were sure of the approval for the online store. That is what guarantees the integrity of the drugs available in the store. So, the best Canadian drugstore with certified permission to sell reliable medicines online is the Canada Drug Direct.