Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh Canada!

A co-worker was chatting with me today and we got around to talking about health insurance issues.  I described the situation with my medications and the bind Aetna is placing me in with respect to nonformulary medications.  Just to summarize: starting 1 January, the medication prescribed by my doctor will cost more than 3 times what it did in 2009; the option that is cheaper is a generic medication that my doctor has never prescribed.  Since this generic medication is a schedule 2 drug, the DEA mandates that i see the specialist once every 4 to 6 weeks.  The savings to Aetna are thereby wiped out.  The medication may cost them less but seeing a specialist 10 times more a year than before will not come cheaply.  (I've already detailed this issue in previous posts.)

So, he said to me: why not go to Canada?  You can get the medication preferred by your doctor for a fraction of the cost.  They even have a generic version available.  He suggested that maybe I could even just take a prescription from my doctor and get it filled in Canada. 

I told him i would research it.

My gut reaction is that there is surely a kink.  Why would a Canadian pharmacy honor a prescription from a US doctor?  Even if they would, surely this wouldn't be legal?

If it were doable and legal and only required a trip across the border, then why wouldn't more US citizens take advantage of the savings?  I know some elderly US citizens have actually gone to Canada for their meds.  Is it legal?  Is it possible?