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Canada limits sales of Ozempic: impact of high drug costs and cross-border access

The Canadian province of British Columbia has decided to restrict sales of the medication Ozempic to non-Canadians. This decision was made due to a Texas physician who allegedly wrote over 17,000 prescriptions for the drug within a three-month period, which were filled at online pharmacies in British Columbia and then shipped to the US. The number of prescriptions filled by this physician accounted for 15% of all prescriptions for the medication in British Columbia during that time. This incident highlights the issue of Americans seeking cheaper medications from Canada and Mexico due to high drug prices in the US.

The high cost of medications in the US has led many Americans to cross the border to purchase drugs in Canada or Mexico. The main reason for this is the significantly lower prices of medications in these countries compared to the US. For example, a one-month supply of Ozempic costs about $250 when purchased from a Canadian pharmacy online, whereas it costs nearly $1000 in the US. This cost difference leads to financial difficulties for many Americans, with around 18% of them not filling prescriptions due to the expense.

Ozempic has gained attention for its use in weight loss, even for individuals who are not obese. This has sparked a debate about whether people with obesity should have priority access to the medication over those with other conditions. However, it is important to recognize that all individuals with different medical conditions should have equal access to necessary medications. The real issue lies in the lack of effective treatments for obesity, which affects a significant portion of the US population.

The demand for medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro (another similar drug) has been unprecedented, leading to shortages not only in the US but also in other countries. Desperate individuals have even resorted to obtaining unregulated versions of the medication from compounding pharmacies, putting themselves at risk. To preserve the interests of Canadians and address the shortages, the Canadian health minister decided to restrict sales of Ozempic to non-Canadians.

Attempts to regulate drug costs in the US have been made in the past but with limited success. Conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes disproportionately affect those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Solving the issue of high drug costs and ensuring equitable access to medications is crucial to serving the needs of the individuals who rely on these medications. Until a solution is found, it is not surprising that people with medical conditions seek medications from various sources, including other countries or unregulated markets.


Improve overall health with a personalized approach at Cline Medical Group. Our team of experts understands the challenges of weight loss and is here to support every step of the way. Visit to learn more about our comprehensive programs and schedule a consultation today.

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