What you need to know to get your medications from Canada legally

Posted at 11:00 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 05:40:35-04

It was a month ago when the 7 Investigators first crossed the border into Canada.

We took you inside a popular pharmacy chain and found the life saving Epipen for a fraction of the US sale price.

Two of the devices - the standard purchase - costing $210 US dollars. That's at least a $500 savings over the cheapest US options.

Pharmacist Hussein Obeid works behind the counter at Hunter's Pharmacy in Windsor. He says they field prescription orders from US doctors daily, mailing medications to the states, not to mention walk-ins from southeast Michigan.

They are seeking Epipens, insulin and epilepsy medications and the most popular drug sought may surprise you.

"Viagra and Cialis. This is the top medication we ship over," says Obeid.

But it begs the question: Is it legal to bring such medical purchases into the states, and if so, how much can you haul?

"The frequent cross border travel for medicinal purposes, it's OK," says Ken Hammond with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

His agency enforces FDA rules at border crossings like the Ambassador Bridge.

He says Canadian purchases should be limited to a 90-day supply of a drug, or, if purchasing a device like the Epipen, it should not be in bulk - which might appear to be for re-sale purposes.

Finally, you need to bring proof of need with you to declare on the return into the US.

"Provided they have a doctors note or prescription, and they are within the FDA guidelines, we generally would allow the entry of those medicines," Hammond says.

Within FDA guidelines means drugs approved by the FDA. That means you can't bring back some foreign made product. The Epipen for example is sold in Canada, but manufactured by a US-based FDA approved drug-maker.

This means, consumers should research the drug they are looking to import before attempting to do so.