What is Canadian International Pharmacy Association All About?

The Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) is an organization comprised of licensed retail pharmacies that provide mail-order services to customers in Canada and throughout the world. Since its inception in 2002, CIPA has become the premier advocate and governing body for safe online pharmacy standards and practices and low drug prices.

In 2009, CIPA was invited to be a featured presenter at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, giving an address entitled “Medicines on the Web: Risks and Benefits.” In February 2010, CIPA was chosen by multi-media giant Google to be its official verifier of Canadian pharmacy advertisements. CIPA has also been selected as the Canadian verification authority for Yahoo! and Microsoft Bing online pharmacy advertising.

CIPA member pharmacies sell prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and medical supplies in 90-day quantities to customers all over Canada and the United States. Each member pharmacy is licensed and closely regulated by the Canadian government to ensure patient safety.

The medications distributed by CIPA member pharmacies are made by the world’s leading drug manufacturers, including global companies like Merck, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer. These are tested pharmaceuticals that have been proven safe and effective, offered at prices up to 80% less than those sold in the U.S. Since its founding in 2002, CIPA member pharmacies have provided necessary medications and supplies to more than one million U.S. patients each year, and the organization maintains a spotless, perfect safety record.

CIPA pharmacies follow the same prescription processing procedures as U.S. mail-order companies. Each pharmacy is fully staffed by licensed and accredited pharmacists and medical professionals. Patients are required to submit a signed and valid current prescription from a licensed physician or health care provider. Each prescription is thoroughly verified, and orders are shipped directly to patients. Every industry quality control is followed, ensuring safety and security.

Why Should Patients Purchase Medications from CIPA Certified Pharmacies?

A CIPA certification means that an online pharmacy has passed a rigorous set of criteria in order to achieve verification. Each pharmacy must present a verifiable physical address and phone number, protect patients’ personal and medical information, employ safeguards to protect patients’ financial information, and must require customers to produce valid prescriptions signed by a licensed physician or health care provider.

Online pharmacies that have earned CIPA certification are reliable and trustworthy. They adhere to the industry’s strictest safety protocols, and submit to regular governmental regulation. CIPA member pharmacies do not sell controlled substances, do not sell patient information to third party marketers, and do not send unsolicited junk mail or SPAM emails.

How Does a Consumer know if a Site is CIPA Certified?

The easiest way to identify an online pharmacy with a CIPA certification is to look for the distinctive CIPA seal. Websites that display the CIPA seal have been verified with the organization and have conformed to all the necessary criteria. The CIPA seal has become well-known throughout the industry, identifying online pharmacies that are trustworthy, reliable, and promote integrity and ethical practices.

Unfortunately, this prestigious distinction has made the CIPA seal very desirable, even to those sites that have not earned the certification. Some disreputable online pharmacies may use the CIPA seal without permission or authorization, so consumers should always verify the seal’s authenticity before making a purchase.

The CIPA website maintains a directory of approved and verified member pharmacies. Concerned patients can search these listings for a specific online pharmacy, or browse the database to find a reputable site. It is always wise to crosscheck any online pharmacy with the CIPA directory before going ahead with an order.

CIPA is an association of pharmacies, not a wholesaler or retailer of prescription medications. CIPA does not stock, supply, distribute, or sell any medications or medical supplies. To purchase prescription drugs, non-prescription medications, or health maintenance supplies, patients should contact an online pharmacy displaying the CIPA seal.

CIPA Wants Patients to Shop for Prescriptions Online in Safety

Not only does CIPA regulate the online pharmacy industry, they also advocate for patient education and safe online drug shopping practices. CIPA encourages patients to work diligently to verify the authenticity of an online pharmacy before placing an order or sharing personal information.

American patients shopping for Canadian prescription drugs should verify the online pharmacy’s name, physical address, phone number, license number, and the Canadian province where the pharmacy is licensed. This information should be clearly identified on the pharmacy’s website, order forms, or affiliates. Customers can also confirm the information quickly and easily through the CIPA website, under the section marked “Verify a CIPA Member.” Patients simply type in the name of the pharmacy and the relevant information is retrieved.

To avoid falling victim to a website that is using the CIPA seal fraudulently, patients can contact the appropriate provincial pharmacy regulatory agency. These agencies are responsible for setting standards of practice and supporting patient safety by regulating pharmacies (both traditional and virtual) located within a given province. When contacting a regulatory agency, patients should be sure to mention the full name of the filling pharmacy.

Patients in the U.S. have the same rights as Canadian citizens when it comes to filing complaints with provincial pharmacy regulatory agencies. It is up to patients to know the rules governing online pharmacies, and to make sure that any online retailer they deal with follows proper procedures.

Canadian online pharmacies should always:

1. Require the patient to submit a valid, current prescription that has been signed by the patient’s licensed U.S. physician or health care provider.

2. Obtain the patient’s medical and demographic information. Have a Canadian physician review the patient’s information before authorizing a Canadianprescription fill.

3. Encourage the U.S. patient to contact the pharmacy’s licensed professionals for medication counseling, drug information, and other concerns or questions.

Finally, consumers should never order medications from online pharmacies that do not require a valid prescription from a doctor. These sites cannot be trusted. They may dispense counterfeit medications, expired prescriptions, or drugs that have not been approved or properly tested.

By doing business exclusively with CIPA member pharmacies, consumers can protect their health, their confidential information, and their financial security while saving money on essential prescriptions and medical supplies.

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