Buy Medicines in Canada 

Government of Canada

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Coronavirus Travel restrictions and exemptions

Tokio Marine HCC-MIS

How Coronavirus Affects Your Coverage

If You Purchased Your Atlas Policy on Or After July 15, 2020 : Your plan will cover eligible medical expenses resulting from COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2.  

Canada emergency number: 911

Canada has a universal publicly funded health care system. Canadian citizens and residents can access medically necessary hospital and physician services for free through their provincial public health programs.  

International visitors and non-residents from other countries are not covered by Canada’s government health programs. You are expected to pay for health care in Canada out of your own pocket. Medical treatment can be very expensive without a proper health insurance coverage.

Atlas Travel Medical Insurance is a visitor health insurance policy designed to provide medical and travel benefits, as well as emergency travel assistance to international travelers. You get access to quality care and are protected against the costs that can incur from unexpected medical and travel emergencies.

More about Atlas Travel Medical Insurance Canada.

How to buy medicines in Canada?

In Canada medicines are generally divided into two categories: prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs.

OTC drugs

Over-the-counter drugs (OTC drugs) are medicines that are sold directly to consumers without prescriptions from healthcare professionals. OTC drugs are used to treat minor ailments e.g. pain and fever, sore throat, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, dry eye, mild allergies. You can buy OTC drugs such as Advil, Tylenol, Otrivin, Zyrtec in the pharmacies, drug stores, or supermarkets. 

A pharmacist can give you advice regarding which OTC drug may be suitable for your health condition. In many Canadian provinces, pharmacists are allowed to prescribe for specific minor ailments and smoking cessation. 

Atlas Travel Medical Insurance does not cover non-prescription drugs. You pay for OTC drugs by yourself. 

Prescription drugs

A prescription drug is a medicine that requires a doctor’s prescription to be dispensed, e.g. antibiotics, blood pressure medications, etc. 

If you get a prescription from a Canadian doctor, you can go to a community pharmacy to buy medicines. A pharmacist will prepare and fill the prescription, explain to you how to take the drug, its dosage, and possible side effects, etc.  

Canadian pharmacists usually have a bachelor of pharmacy degree and are board certified by the provincial regulatory authorities.  Hospital pharmacists may have a higher pharmacy degree (doctor of pharmacy) and can be involved in more clinical activities besides dispensing medications, e.g. help doctors monitor specific therapeutic drugs, assess the appropriate use of medications, report adverse drug reaction, and more.

You have to pay for your prescriptions at the pharmacy, then submit a claim to Tokio Marine HCC-MIS to request reimbursement for eligible  expenses you have paid. You should ask the pharmacist for an itemized bill that lists all medications with costs. If your health care provider has provided medications during any treatment, make sure you get a bill with itemized costs of the medications provided.  

Bring medicines from your home country

If you are taking medicines to treat a chronic or pre-existing medical condition, you can bring medications from your home country to Canada for your personal use, generally no more than a 90-day supply. 

Make sure that your medications are in their original, labeled packagings that clearly indicate what the medications are and what they contain.  It’s a good ideal to bring a copy of your original prescription, and your doctor’s note that explains why you are taking the medicines.

Refill your prescription drugs

In general you cannot use a prescription from another country to buy medicines in Canada. If you run out of or lose your medications while traveling in Canada, you can go to a Canadian doctor for medical consultation and obtain a prescription.  

Be sure to bring your original prescriptions including the brand name and generic name of all your medicines. Many medications have different brand names in different countries. This can help the Canadian doctor or pharmacist to find medicines that have the same active ingredients as what you take from your home country.


Atlas travel medical insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, except charges resulting directly from an Acute Onset of Pre-existing Condition. Refilling prescription drugs for your pre-existing medical condition will not be considered as acute onset and are not covered by Atlas insurance. 

How to find a pharmacy?

You are free to buy medicines at a pharmacy of your choice. 

There are over 10,000 pharmacies in Canada, most of them are community pharmacies, some pharmacies are attached to hospitals and large medical clinics. You can find pharmacies easily in major Canadian cities. In some rural areas, you need to travel far to reach the nearest community pharmacy. 

Pharmacies are open at normal business hours during the week, some pharmacies are open for extended evening hours. In large cities there are pharmacies that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

Pharmacies have a rotating system to ensure that in each area at least one emergency pharmacy is open to provide emergency pharmacy services in the evening, weekend, and holidays. Outside of normal business hours, pharmacies will display the closest emergency pharmacy store’s address on the door or the window.

Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, PharmaSave are some of Canada's leading pharmacy chains. Here you can use Shoppers Drug Mart store locator to find Shoppers pharmacies near you. Here you can use Rexall store locator to find Rexall pharmacies near you.

Atlas Travel Medical Insurance Canada

How much does Atlas travel insurance cost and how to apply?

How to use Atlas travel medical insurance to get health care in Canada?

How to pay for medical expenses and file claims?