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Author Topic: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications  (Read 9084 times)

catblaster

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Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« on: September 03, 2011, 08:01:41 PM »
Now you have me wondering how to get my meds across the border, In the US it will cost me over $20,000 a year, Canada.....less than $2000. Maybe I need a mule.
Will and Jane
95 Winnebago Luxor

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2011, 09:48:03 PM »
I wouldn't think meds would be a problem.  Maybe others can jump in.   I suspect the only time they might be a problem is if they are narcotic/pain killers.   

Maybe a short letter from your doc? 

Tom

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2011, 10:36:37 PM »
I've seen signs at border crossings advising that only 3 months of meds are allowed to be brought in, and that a prescription is required. I've never had anyone verify how much meds I'm bringing in, or ask for a prescription.
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Tony_Alberta

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2011, 01:02:03 AM »
I've seen signs at border crossings advising that only 3 months of meds are allowed to be brought in, and that a prescription is required. I've never had anyone verify how much meds I'm bringing in, or ask for a prescription.
Interesting.   Of course snowbirds are going to figure three months is rather short.

BTW I've talked to my friend the pharmacist here in Canada and he states that they will issue six months worth of meds for a snowbird.   

Tom

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2011, 09:04:39 AM »
Tony,

IIRC when we've had visitors from the UK, they've reported no problems from their doctor or pharmacy in getting an extended supply of medications.

The pharmacies in Mexico have no time limit; They'll sell someone a year's supply without batting an eyelid, and they don't ask for a prescription.
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2011, 11:15:26 AM »
    What I found was that my drug insurer wouldn't allow a six month supply to be paid for at the time of purchase, so what I had to do was buy 6 months, pay for 3 and submit a paper claim.  I called the insurance company when I noticed a slight variance between the claims, and I was able to have them increase my allowable claim to 6 months.  Last year, when filling my meds before heading south in December, it was slick as a whistle.  The pharmacist says, if the doctor prescribes it, they will gladly fill it.  Of course, we are talking about cholesterol and diabetes meds, nothing that can be used for mind altering or that sort.
    As for Mexico, they might fill them, but we noticed that the US border guards were checking quantities when we walked back.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Steve, CDN

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2011, 11:30:35 AM »
Quote
Now you have me wondering how to get my meds across the border

If you need a six month supply, you can ask your doctor to rewrite your prescription in the following manner.  If your prescription is, say one table twice a day (2 tablets a day) you need 60 tabs a month.  Have your doctor write a prescription for 360 tablets, "Taken as Directed".
 
In other words, have the quantity of medication required for six months with the instruction, Taken As Directed and no other notations.
 
There should be no prolem with the insurance coverage, pharmacy nor customs. 
 
Keep the medication in the dispensed container with the original label
 
Ask your pharmacist to write the manufacturer's expiry date.  Important because many phsrmacies, especially chains lke to make up their own expiry date to have you renew your prescription sooner.  Insist on the manufacturer's expiry date, copied from the manufacturer's bottle.
 
Quote
Of course, we are talking about cholesterol and diabetes meds, nothing that can be used for mind altering or that sort.

Same applies to psychotropic medication (tranqilizers, antidepressants, etc).  Depending on the situation there may be restrictions on narcotic medications.

 
 
Steve, Forum Moderator
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kjansen

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2011, 12:07:35 PM »
As a pharmacist, here's the issue with drugs coming in from Mexico or Canada.  By federal Law it is illegal.  Will the border patrols stop you?
Most likely not unless you have an excessive amount, that includes narcotics and other drugs.  Also, the take as directed label is against all
insurance contracts.  we must specify with the MD the exact directions and note it or during an audit the insurace company can take back the full price of the prescrition from the pharmacy. In some cases pharmacies have lost thousands of dollars due to this.
Keven Jansen
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Alexandria, Mn

Tom

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2011, 12:21:20 PM »
Quote from: Hfx_Cdn
As for Mexico, they might fill them, but we noticed that the US border guards were checking quantities when we walked back.

Interesting Ed. They've always asked to "see" our meds, and we've opened the bags, but there was no counting of what we had. Maybe different agents on different days.
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2011, 12:26:50 PM »
   These were prople coming back at either El Progresso, or Las Algodonez, which are known to be places that people go to get their meds.  We saw one couple sent back to the drug store in Las Algodonez to return some of the meds as they were more than what was allowed.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

COMer

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2011, 12:52:46 PM »
Is there a list in some Border Patrol site that shows what they consider to be more than allowed? 
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

Tom

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2011, 01:11:10 PM »
Most of our southern crossings have been from Algadones, although a few have been via other ports. OTOH I usually ask the pharmacy clerk if I could bring stuff back (for later retrieval) in the event we're turned back. Early in the morning, when there are no lines, it would be easy to make several trips in and out in a short space of time.
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Tom

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2011, 01:12:15 PM »
Quote from: COMer
Is there a list in some Border Patrol site that shows what they consider to be more than allowed?

If so, I'd expect it to be somewhere on this site.
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catblaster

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2011, 05:54:27 PM »
This discussion is sure enlightening!! Here is the RUB......the med that costs $20,000 (that is walk in price) a year is rivatio...for pulmonary hypertension. It is 20g sildenfel citrate X 3 a day (ring a bell..its viagra) If I buy 100mg viagra cut it in four pcs I have close to the same thing. NOW what is a border patrol agent going to say when I come across with a bag of viagra??? I'm still trying to get answers from our insurance company, United UNhealth care. but it's been 3 weeks..still no price. good thing I'm not dying. Sorry I forgot to thank everyone...you are educating me, really!!
Will and Jane
95 Winnebago Luxor

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2011, 06:49:07 PM »
It is 20g sildenfel citrate X 3 a day (ring a bell..its viagra) If I buy 100mg viagra cut it in four pcs I have close to the same thing. NOW what is a border patrol agent going to say when I come across with a bag of viagra???
He will congratulate you and your wife for having such a happy marriage.   :)

catblaster

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 05:08:29 PM »
Thanks for all the good information. after all of the dust settled the insurance company has settled on months supply for $177 more or less after deductible is met. I can live with that (literally). You help has not been wasted, I really thank you.   :)    Will
Will and Jane
95 Winnebago Luxor

Alfa38User

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2011, 09:47:19 AM »
A bit late perhaps, but here is how it works for us (Quebec). We are on the compulsory provincial prescription insurance (RAMQ) and have  a group insurance plan that covers most of the differences between the two (less all deductibles as usual).

The pharmacy can issue up to 3 months worth with no special actions required at any time. For more time, the pharmacist simply puts in a vacation code for the provincial plan and they then calculate all the deductibles for the period as required. For the group plan, I have to call the insurer and furnish all the DIN (Drug Identification Numbers) I wish to renew for the 6 month interval. Within 24 hours they will notify me to go ahead and buy them within the next 30 days. (Many times they have not called back but I have not had a problem proceeding with the purchase after giving them a chance to do the paperwork on their end.)

The one thing that can hang up the process is the possible expiry of the one year limit on prescriptions before the last date of requested renewal. To avoid this I try for all renewals in Sept. One other thing that can cause problems is the additional coverage in medical insurance. My insurer (Medipac) requires that they be advised of any changes or additional  medication in the 3 months prior to departure. (If there has been a change and you don't advise them, it is grounds for denial of any claim. The meds not reported do NOT have to be related to the illness claimed for  at all!!!).

Simple enough, once you get the hang of it.

Keep in mind a pharmacist in the USA will NOT issue/renew a drug based on a Canadian doctors prescription, regardless if the chain has stores in Canada or not (like Walmart, Costco etc). You have to take any prescribed meds with you as Steve has described. I have never been asked about meds when crossing the border for our extended stay but I do keep them in the containers with the original stickers/pharmacy labels on them.

Some pre-packaged meds do not always have the stickers on each container/box but I always save the marked one for our return to Canada "just in case". I have never been challenged on meds on our return either.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 09:52:44 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
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"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2011, 05:25:43 PM »
Keep in mind a pharmacist in the USA will NOT issue/renew a drug based on a Canadian doctors prescription, regardless if the chain has stores in Canada or not (like Walmart, Costco etc).
This also works from province to province.  An Alberta pharmacist will not fill a prescription from a B.C. doctor.   

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2011, 05:53:44 PM »
     Tony, I have had prescriptions fill in Ottawa when we stayed longer at our kids than originally expected.  National pharmacy electronically sent the prescription to ON and it was filled in under an hour.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Snowbirds to U.S. Traveling With Medications
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2011, 06:50:35 PM »
I suspect the difference is because it was pharmacy to pharmacy. 

 

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