Canada has traditionally been considered one of the best living countries. Despite the large territory, the population of the country is relatively small & amounts to just over 36 million people. Canada is famous for its healthcare and pharmacies.
Retail pharmacies in Canada
In Canada, there are around 8000 retail drug stores, which dispense medicaments for about 300 million prescriptions in a year. About 30% of the total number of pharmacies are pharmacies owned by private entrepreneurs. A lot of pharmacies have their own websites where they sell medicaments online. In addition, many pharmacies work exclusively on the Internet.
Approximately 57% of the total number of Canadian pharmacies are pharmacy stores that are part of the franchise in the brand pharmacy chains, and 13% of chemist’s shops are placed in grocery stores.
The largest pharmacy chains in Canada
The largest Canadian pharmacy chain is Shoppers Drug Mart. This network was established in 1962, and today it includes more than 1.2 thousand pharmacies operating under the brands Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix. Shoppers Drug Mart stores have a convenient location, excellent service and a wide range of drugs. What is more, they have great consumer confidence.
In addition to medicines, Shoppers Drug Mart stores sell products for beauty and health, cosmetics and perfumes, seasonal demand products, household chemicals, stationery, hygiene products, household items and even food. Most pharmacies of this chain are open until 11 pm or until midnight, and some pharmacies work around the clock. The second largest pharmacy chain in Canada is Rexall, it includes about 1100 pharmacies under several names. In addition, there are many online pharmacies in this country, where you can buy Viagra online Canada.
Types of drugs in Canadian pharmacies
All drugs sold in pharmacies are divided into three main groups:
1) prescription drugs;
2) drugs sold in pharmacies on the advice of a pharmacist, without the possibility of an independent choice by the consumer;
3) non-prescription drugs that the patient can choose and buy without the pharmacist’s recommendation.
You can buy some painkillers and antipyretic drugs, cough drugs, antidiarrheal drugs, vitamins, anti-smoking and slimming supplements, bandages, patches and some other medical products without prescription.
Insurance does not apply to OTC medicines. Antibiotics, psychotropic drugs, drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (such as Viagra and Cialis) belong to prescription medications.
Today, some over-the-counter medicines are sold by self-service grocery stores. However, in order to expand the range of medicines, grocery stores must obtain permission to open a pharmacy section, and also include a pharmacist in their staff. Medications made by Canadian manufacturers, are mostly sold in Canadian pharmacies. Almost each drug has a cheaper equivalent – a generic. The difference in price between the genuine medicament and its generic version may be from 20 to 80%.
For example, one generic Viagra pill may cost 3 dollars, while the price for genuine medicine is around 20 dollars (per tablet).
Usually doctor prescribes generics at the patient’s request. However, the pharmacist in the drug store can also pick up generic to the patient according to his / her request instead of the genuine medicament. In Canada, the cost of the same drugs can vary in different pharmacies. Some drugs in small pharmacies are much cheaper than in large networks.
Services of Canadian pharmacies
In many Canadian pharmacies, each customer is given a personal file in the database, which is integrated into the database of health insurance companies. This file contains the patient’s personal data, indicates the type of his/her insurance, as well as the presence of contraindications and allergies. When paying for prescription drugs at the pharmacy cashier, that part of the cost of the medicine that is covered by the insurance is automatically deducted from the total price. This service may not be available in small pharmacies. In this case, the patient will have to get compensation directly from the insurance firm.
Interestingly, in many Canadian pharmacies there is a special service, reminding patients with chronic diseases who are forced to constantly take medicine, that it’s time to buy the next dose of the drug.