From Where Do Pharmacies Get Their Drugs?

You take a prescription down to the neighbourhood pharmacy for filling. The pharmacist grabs a large container off the shelf, pours some of the pills into a tray, and begins counting out the required number for your prescription. The pills then go into a bottle with a label prepared by the pharmacist on their computer. It all functions like clockwork. But where do the pharmacy’s drugs come from?

Both brick-and-mortar and online pharmacies have to source their drugs from somewhere. They do not manufacture the medications themselves. It turns out that vendors supply the drugs just as they do every other item for sale in the pharmacy. And in reality, it’s the vendors you really have to worry about.

Obtaining Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

Every prescription medication is manufactured using a combination of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and non-active ingredients. Manufacturers purchase their APIs from a variety of sources. Believe it or not, China and India are the biggest API suppliers in the world. They control the market between the two of them.

Manufacturers obtain APIs through importation. They take those ingredients and use them to create tablets, capsules, liquids, topicals, etc. Pharmaceutical manufacturers in the US are heavily regulated by the FDA and a variety of state agencies.

As for manufacturers in other countries, they are regulated by their appropriate agencies. We have no choice but to assume our local pharmacies purchase prescription medications from licensed and regulated manufacturers.

Buying Drugs from Online Pharmacies

We generally consider it safer to purchase prescription medicines from brick-and-mortar pharmacies with onsite pharmacists. Said pharmacies are legitimate businesses that follow a lengthy list of strict regulations. When it comes to online pharmacies, there is some level of distrust. That need not be the case.

Online pharmacies obtain their drugs the same way brick-and-mortar pharmacies do. They purchase from manufacturers licensed to supply pharmaceuticals according to accepted regulations. But there is one catch: not all online pharmacies do business by the book. This is why you have to be careful.

Online Pharmacies vs. Websites

Canada Pharmacy, one of the leading online pharmacies shipping prescription medications from Canada to US consumers, recommends only purchasing from an online provider with a verifiable license and necessary accreditation. Canada Pharmacy’s dispensing pharmacy is licensed by Canada in the province of Manitoba. They are accredited by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association.

The point of explaining this is to illustrate the fact that not all online operations operate genuine pharmacies. Some are just websites without any affiliation with a licensed and accredited dispensing pharmacy. Who knows where their drugs come from?

It is also a good idea to be wary of online operations that do not meet minimum standards. You should expect the following from any online pharmacy you buy from, Canadian or otherwise:

  • The pharmacy should require a valid and verifiable prescription
  • The pharmacy should employ at least one licensed pharmacist
  • The pharmacy should offer multiple ways of contacting them
  • The pharmacy should be properly accredited by a legitimate accrediting body.

Online pharmacies are known to source their drugs from a variety of vendors. For example, some of Canada Pharmacy’s products come directly from Canada. Other products are shipped from the US, the UK, and other countries. The APIs used to manufacture the drugs come primarily from India and China.

Now you know from where pharmacies get their drugs. Whether you are talking about a brick-and-mortar store or an online pharmacy, the drugs come from manufacturers licensed to produce prescription medications. In turn, they source their APIs from manufacturers in China, India, and other countries.