Canada (Quebec) Shuts Down Insulin Sales to US Residents

As of September 2019, Canadian pharmacies have been notified that they are no longer allowed by law to sell insulin to US residents except for emergency purposes. That means US residents can no longer cross the border and buy multiple boxes of Pens, Vials or cartridges. The pharmacies can only sell you 1 box as an emergency, even if you have a valid US prescription for more. I checked with several different pharmacy chains and they all gave me the same information. I guess this will kill the bus runs to Canada as well as individuals such as myself that were going to Canada to purchase insulin.

They did say that there were a few doctors (they were not allowed to release names) registered in both Canada and the US that could write a prescription to purchase a large quantity in Canada but I could not find one after calling at least a dozen doctors and clinics near the border. The last know one in my area recently passed away.



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I just received an order of Fiasp from Canada. 9 vials.

Some mail order pharmacies still shipping. You just can’t physically go to Canada and pick up your insulin anymore. One of the pharmacies I talked to also said that there are still a few pharmacies breaking the law and shipping.

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Found this.


(Protect Canada's insulin supply from U.S. buyers in search of bargains, advocates urge | CBC News)


What’s the problem? Are they running out of insulin?

I am not quite sure what source you are looking for. I contacted my go to pharmacy in Stanstead Quebec that has sold me my insulin in the past and they refused my order based on the new law. They are part of the Familiprix group of pharmacies. I thought this may be some new local store policy so I contacted another Familiprix pharmacy and they told me the same story so I thought this may be a new Familiprix policy. I then contacted 2 different pharmacies in the Proxim group of pharmacies North of St Albans VT and got the same story.

Please note this is information based on driving up and picking up insulin in Canada which has been by far the cheapest way to get insulin in Canada in the past (Not insulin by mail order).

I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone just informing interested parties in my experience today.


Sorry to be a painful stickler, but what you’re reporting is anecdotal and may be a variety of things, from a chain-wide policy, provincial edict, or Canadian law, or something else entirely.

I’m looking for something formal, that has been published by either the Canadian Government or some reliable news source.

I’m not doubting your experience, and I’m thankful that you have provided it.

@CJ114I wonder if you contact the American Medical Board for a list of doctors that are licensed in US and practicing in Canada if you could find out that way?

I’m not sure how helpful they are. But in the past when I have been looking for a specific doctor for homeopathy, or natural treatment for dogs I could contact the specific board and they would let me know. The AMA is huge though, so just not sure how they function and if it will work.

I went the other route and contacted Canada and was told the only private doctor servicing the area by my pharmacy in Stantead QC was Dr Gilles Bouchard and he was well known for making out insulin prescriptions when needed, however, he passed away in March of 2018. I guess I will just go the mail order route if and until that gets closed down as well.

I guess my viewpoint is quite different as to me it does not matter who shut down the ability for US residents to drive up to Canada to purchase insulin or for what reason. The document(s) is/are immaterial if the retail pharmacies will not sell you more than an emergency supply when in the past you could get as much as you want.

Yes, it is personal to you and has immediate ramifications for your life. But if we can find out what caused the change, and how widespread it is, you might find other options available to you. And you might find that it’s a temporary problem that will resolve over time. I hope it is.

I’m not sure how they would enforce this. Insulin is an OTC drug. When I go to the pharmacy they don’t ask me for my name or address or to see any ID and they are not required to.


The Pharmacy chain I use has a file on me that contains my name and address and telephone number. They use that file to make sure that they supply me the correct insulin each visit. Furthermore, I buy a large supply (10 boxes of 5 300ml cartridges). I have never found a pharmacy in Quebec that stocks more than 4 boxes at any time so it is a special order and they won’t order that much without a name/address/phone number. I am considering just driving up and buying 1-2 boxes from several different pharmacies but that would be a real pain.

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So is Canada short on insulin, or what?

I wonder if it’s more of what price in the future they will have to buy insulin at? In essence the US market pricing helps other countries being able to buy it cheaper and with it in the news right now condemning the manufacturers for charging so much here versus other countries, look at them to up their price to other countries.

That might be more about what Canada is worried about.

That’s a myth. Humalog was sold at a sensible price when it was first introduced in the United States. The pharma companies make massive profits everywhere insulin is sold, they are not losing money in other places and subsidizing the loss by screwing the American public, which is exactly what they are doing.


No, but the average pharmacy doesn’t keep large supplies on hand, so I’m speculating they are worried about not having enough in a day for Canadians who need it if non-residents are coming up here and buying in large quantities.


Still, the caravans have gone into other parts of Canada and bought large quantities OTC (as you pointed out earlier).

The ONLY question asked was how much do you want to buy?

There are also some articles quoting Canadian pharmacies as relying on these cross-border purchases as part of their business model.

I have not heard of any caravans going into any other parts of Canada since this went into effect so I would suggest anyone trying to put together a caravan to call pharmacy in advance and make sure pharmacy will sell the insulin. I also, have never had a problem on past orders and was shocked when my pharmacy told me today for the first time they would not sell me the insulin to then be confirmed by several other large group pharmacies in Quebec.