Canada (Quebec) Shuts Down Insulin Sales to US Residents

Oh ■■■■. Sort this out, @Jimi63! Jim_in_Calgary to the rescue!


It’s likely provincial as regulation of pharmacies is provincial jurisdiction far as I know. It may also not be a law at all, but a direction from the provincial college of pharmacists.

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@CJ114 I asked the pharmacist whether the government (Health Canada) had issued any directive regarding limiting the OTC sale of insulin to walk-in individuals, non-citizens of a Canada or otherwise. The answer is no.

They’ll sell you as many vials as you like, as long as it’s intended for personal use and not resale.

She suspects what you’re dealing with is a regional regulation (Quebec provincial), or perhaps a company policy that the drugstores you tried are now enforcing.


That makes sense because I was just able to order by mail 10 boxes of 5 cartridges from a pharmacy in Western Canada. It was not worth it for me to waste any more time with this issue, so I just ordered by mail and hopefully they will ship by courier on Monday.

So I guess my warning is only for individuals planning to drive or caravan up to Quebec. Thank you for looking into this.

I have modified the title of this thread based on your information.


No, I live in ontario

Thank you for changing the title of this thread.

I also understand that Quebec province also may require prescriptions from a Canadian physician.


Yes, you are correct - That was one of my problems that they now require a prescription from a doctor either US or Canadian authorized to issue prescriptions in Canada. The latest well known doctor that had this ability has passed away, My pharmacy said there were others in the area (but were not allowed to release name(s)) so I called every hospital and doctor within a 50 mile radius of my regular pharmacy and they said they were not authorized except for 1 pediatrician and she said me being over 70 years of age she was not comfortable writing me a prescription for insulin in Canada. If there is an individual with a child that wants to pick up insulin in Quebec, I will be happy to pass along the name.

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That shouldn’t be the case since drugs are scheduled by the federal government, but Quebec tends to do things their own way…

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Do you have insurance? You are only getting humalog (I know many plans don’t cover some insulins like Fiasp and Apidra) but Humalog should be fairly inexpensive with a copay?

I have insurance, but buying out of pocket in Canada is a fraction of the cost of CoPay+Premium so I take a low cost drug plan and buy OTC in Canada.

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How is it a loss when they sell Humalog for $30 Canadian and they make it for $5.00. Americans are not subsidizing Canadians by paying higher costs. But they are more ripped off than people north of the 49th parallel.

Canada has laws to regulate prices on drugs. Many Americans are pushing for the same thing - which is way better than depleting the stock of insulin in Canada. I get why Americans are coming north to buy insulin, it’s a life or death issue for some people. But it’s not a solution and Canadians are not happy that this is happening because of possible supply problems in our country. Americans need to acknowledge that driving north isn’t the solution they want. One guy in this thread suggested that Americans are subsidizing lower prices in Canada which is definitely not true.

@Colleen15 One of the excuses the drug companies use here to try to justify the price and the high profit is they need it for research. So the US are in essence solely paying for that expensive research and great profits.

It remains to be seen if they have to take a minimum profit over cost if they will “be happy” about that or if they will raise the price to every country so that everyone pays towards their “research”.

Right now they are only talking about lowering the price here, that price looks like it is going to still be a lot higher than what it is sold to other countries for.

Have any of the drug companies or government agencies stated there are supply problems? The overwhelming majority of Americans still get their insulin in the US. It’s hard to believe that the few Americans who buy in Canada places a strain on the system.


I have not heard of any supply issues. Furthermore my understanding is that this is a zero sum game anyways because I believe that all the Humalog, for example, for all of North America (including Canada) comes out of either the Indianapolis factory or the Puerto Rico factory. So what is the difference where it is actually purchased? I have not heard of any country being either limited or had their supply rationed.


I don’t think you read what I wrote. I had thought the person I was responding to was saying that the US is subsidizing our lower drug prices and I was refuting that.

There are no insulin supply issues in Canada. Any suggestion that there is an issue has been fuelled by MSM suggesting that if large states sourced their insulin supplies from Canada, Canadians would suffer (the states most commonly mention are Florida and California).

Currently, this suggestion ridiculous.


Not one American ever wants to go to Canada for insulin.
Not one.


I need a geography refresher to follow this thread…perhaps this helps.


I bought Humalog in 1994 for 25.00 a vial - retail. I have receipts from 2016 with a price of ,1255 for 3 vials - or $430 or so a vial. It still costs less than $8.00 a vial to mfr. Our having access to insulin in Canada and/or Mexico doesn’t solve the problem. Getting rid of (and exposing) the PBM’s and Pharma’s greed is what is needed. At least more and more people - not just us - are becoming aware and outraged.