Is Buckley’s cough syrup still available?

Buckley’s cough syrup has been a popular over-the-counter cough medicine in Canada for decades. With its strong medicinal taste and famous slogan “It tastes awful. And it works.”, Buckley’s is well-known for its effectiveness in relieving cough and cold symptoms. But is this iconic Canadian cough syrup still being made today?

Brief history of Buckley’s cough syrup

Buckley’s cough syrup was first formulated in 1919 by W.K. Buckley in Toronto, Canada. Buckley worked as a pharmacist and created the cough syrup recipe using ingredients like ammonium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, camphor, menthol, Canada balsam (Abies balsamea), pine needle oil, and more. The ammonium carbonate gave Buckley’s its signature strong, medicinal taste.

In the 1950s, Frank Buckley, the son of W.K. Buckley, began marketing the cough syrup using the slogan “It tastes awful. And it works.” The slogan emphasized the powerful taste of the cough syrup and its effectiveness. Buckley’s began selling nationally across Canada in 1965 and soon became a household name.

Over the decades, Buckley’s expanded its line of products to include versions like Buckley’s Mixture, Buckley’s DM Cough Syrup, and Buckley’s Nighttime Cough Syrup. The company changed ownership a few times, being acquired by pharmaceutical companies like Warner Lambert and Pfizer. But it remained a popular Canadian cough and cold brand through the late 20th century.

Current availability of Buckley’s cough syrup

Today, Buckley’s cough syrup is still being manufactured and sold. The brand is now owned by Trillium Health Care Products, a Canadian consumer healthcare company. Buckley’s Original Formula cough syrup continues to use a similar formula as the original 1919 version.

Buckley’s products are sold at major pharmacies throughout Canada like Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, London Drugs, and Pharmasave. They can also be purchased through online retailers like Amazon and So while the ownership has changed over the years, this classic Canadian cough syrup remains easy to find today.

In addition to the original formula, Buckley’s makes several other cough and cold products:

  • Buckley’s Complete Day & Night – an extended release formula for day and night relief
  • Buckley’s DM Cough Syrup – with the cough suppressant dextromethorphan
  • Buckley’s Mixture – with expectorant guaifenesin
  • Buckley’s Nighttime Cough Syrup – with sedating antihistamine doxylamine
  • Buckley’s Sinus & Flu Day/Night – formulas for sinus pressure, congestion, and body aches

So while the original Buckley’s is still available, consumers also have the choice of several variations targeted to specific cold and flu symptoms.

Why Buckley’s is still popular today

There are several reasons why Buckley’s remains a popular cough syrup choice today:

  • Proven effectiveness – The original formula contains active ingredients like ammonium carbonate and camphor that provide effective cough and chest congestion relief. Consumer trust this medicine to work.
  • Natural ingredients – Key active ingredients in Buckley’s like camphor, pine needle oil, and Canada balsam are plant-derived, which appeals to consumers looking for natural options.
  • Canadian heritage – Buckley’s is viewed as a true Canadian brand. Its history and “awful taste” slogan engender consumer loyalty and national pride.
  • Marketing and tradition – Nostalgia and clever marketing around the terrible taste help drive ongoing brand recognition and sales.
  • Variety of formulations – The brand has expanded beyond the original formula to offer options targeting different symptoms.

While many over-the-counter cough syrup brands are now available, Buckley’s has maintained steady sales and popularity in Canada due to its time-tested formula, clever marketing, and expanded product line.

Is Buckley’s still made in Canada?

For many years, Buckley’s cough syrup was manufactured solely in Canada, which was a source of national pride and emphasis in its marketing. However, production of Buckley’s has become more globalized in recent decades.

When Pfizer acquired Buckley’s in the 1990s, some production was moved to Pfizer manufacturing facilities in France and the United States. Today, under current owner Trillium Health Care Products, Buckley’s Original Formula continues to be made in Canada. But other products in the Buckley’s line are manufactured in Canada as well as at international sites.

For example, according to the Health Canada database, Buckley’s Complete Day & Night syrup is made in Canada, while Buckley’s DM Cough Syrup is produced in the US. So some Buckley’s products do still state “Made in Canada” on their packaging, while other formulations are made internationally.

In its marketing, Buckley’s continues to emphasize its Canadian roots and heritage. However, like many brands today, its manufacturing operations are now globally diversified based on facilities and cost efficiencies.

Is Buckley’s formula still the same?

Buckley’s Original Formula cough syrup appears to have retained essentially the same formula over the decades. The active ingredients on the current product label are very similar to early versions of the cough syrup.

Key ingredients in today’s Buckley’s Original Formula include:

  • Ammonium carbonate
  • Potassium bicarbonate
  • Camphor
  • Menthol
  • Pine needle oil
  • Canada balsam (Abies balsamea)

These are the same key active ingredients that gave the original Buckley’s cough syrup its medicinal potency and pungent taste. The main change seems to be the addition of small amounts of flavoring ingredients like propylene glycol, sorbitol, and sucrose, possibly to help balance the strong herbal taste.

The consistent formula likely explains why Buckley’s Original retains its consumer loyalty and reputation for effectiveness. Minor tweaks have been made over the years, but the core active ingredients remain unchanged.


Buckley’s Original Formula cough syrup has been a trusted Canadian cough medicine for over a century now. While the brand has changed hands between pharmaceutical companies, Buckley’s has stayed a market leader due to its memorable branding and reliable formulation.

Today, Buckley’s continues to be widely available across Canada through major pharmacies, grocery stores, and online retailers. The original formula retains essentially the same medicinal ingredients that made it famous. Buckley’s has also introduced new formulations targeted to different cough and cold symptoms. So Canadians looking to relieve their cough or congestion can still easily find Buckley’s products on store shelves.

Given its strong Canadian identity and tradition, along with its track record of effectiveness, Buckley’s is likely to remain a popular over-the-counter cough medicine choice for the foreseeable future.

Leave a Comment