Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


I-SaveRx: States Facilitate Rx Reimportation

A number of states have joined together to allow residents, regardless of income, to purchase lower-cost pharmaceuticals from more than 60 approved pharmacies and prescription drug wholesalers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Illinois initiated the I-SaveRx program in October 2004, and since then Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, and Vermont have joined. Through a Web site or toll-free telephone number, residents can access information on nearly 150 brand name medications included in the program, prices in each of the three countries, enrollment forms, and guidance for purchasing. The program is administered by CanaRx, a Canadian Pharmaceutical Benefits Manager. Individual purchasers have been achieving cost savings averaging 25 to 50%.

The program addresses common safety concerns about reimportation, including counterfeit and storage issues, through its stringent purchasing processes. First, the program can only be used to purchase prescription refills. Second, the individual must mail or have their physician fax a completed health profile form and a signed prescription to CanaRx. The prescription is then reviewed by a physician in the country where it will be filled in order to make a final safety determination. Third, among the 150 available medications, there are almost no generic drugs, no narcotics, and no treatments that require refrigeration or other special care. Finally, only drugs manufactured for distribution in the program countries are dispensed to U.S. consumers.

While the program is still relatively small, with approximately 5,800 prescription orders processed as of April 7, 2005, the participating governors speak favorably of its ability to significantly reduce costs for those without prescription drug coverage. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been vocal in describing the program as one that allows individuals "access to better prices on the world market" without having to wait for federal action on the reimportation issue.

For More Information: I-SaveRx Web site,
Contact: Scott McKibbin, Special Advocate for Prescription Drugs, State of Illinois, (312) 793-1371, [email protected]

Publication Details