From: email@example.com(Steven B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Filling Px in Mexico
Date: 13 Apr 1997
In <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (Alan Gore)
>Has anyone out there had experience with getting prescriptions filled
>in Mexican border towns? I am contemplating going to get medications
>my HMO won't provide.
>Anything I should know before I go?
Yes. I have quite a lot of experience with this. You cannot get
any controlled substance (narcotics, sleeping pills, etc) without a
prescription from a Mexican doctor. Technically for other drugs
(antibiotics, seizure drugs, antifungals) you need to have a
prescription from an American doctor, but in practice they won't hassle
you so long as you don't try to bring over about $300 worth of drugs.
Unless you and the customs people are having a really bad day, this
means they won't even look at you so long as you have ONE plastic bag
with less than about 20 boxes or bottles of drugs in it. You'll be in
good company, because places like Tijuana have HUGE numbers of people
going across the border on foot every day with just that. If you don't
look Spanish, they probably won't even ask you for I.D.
Steve Harris, M.D.
P.S. Watch for especially good buys on Retin A and common antibiotics
in Mexico. The rule is: if it's manufactured in Mexico by a major drug
company that also markets in the US (like, for instance, Scherring),
you'll likely to get real deal on a product of good quality. Many
pharmacias will help you to figure out what's what in that department.
From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: aids drugs
Date: 12 May 1995
In <firstname.lastname@example.org> Kevin E. Daugherty
>Was wondering if anyone out there has purchased any of their AZT,
>DDI, BACTRIM, etc., in Mexico. I understand that the prices are
>half or even less than that there. If you have what is the
>procedure going thru customs and what type of prescription should
>you take with you. You input is appreciated. Thanks, Kev
Since I'm a physician I never bother about prescriptions, but on the
other hand, have never had any customs agent check me for one anyway.
You may want to get your doc to write some just to be sure.
I've been across the border into Tijuana many times on foot, and the
foot traffic coming back is heavy enough that the black plastic
_pharmacia_ bags full of non-scheduled pharmaceuticals are waved right
through. The rule is that they must be for personal use, and you cannot
have more than $300 worth per person. Have the sales receipt inside the
bag. Smile and be friendly, and don't carry across anything else.
Going into Mexico on foot (parking your car on the US side) to get
pharmaceuticals is NOT unusual, and there is a HUGE cottage industry of
pharmacias on the other side for nothing but this purpose. Don't worry,
they all speak English, and the worst problem you'll have will be that
you may have to write a few things down on paper to be understood. You
can also haggle about 10%, which is fun.
A couple of tips: the farther into Tijuana you go, the better the
prices, so go at least over the canal/river bridge.
Plan to go during daylight hours, and get back across to the US before
dark. This area is well policed, but it's silly to take risks you don't
Ignore the taxis: you can do it all on foot.
Ignore the food and the drink, unless you're looking for intestinal
Shop around a bit. Sometimes the best prices are in the small
pharmacias which are packed the closest with stuff, due to lower
overhead. The glizty ones with lots of wasted shelf space are going to
cost you more.
Look for drugs made by the same manufacturer as for the US, but with
Mexican labeling. This usually gives you the best tradeoff in cost vs
quality. There are a few generics made in Mexico which I usually try to
stay away from. Also, be aware that a few drugs in pharmacias will be
US imports (like Prozac), and on these you may get no savings at all.
With all these caveats, you can get some incredible deals in Mexico.
Steroid cremes, Retin A creme, and Bactroban ointment, for instance, can
all be had at something like 1/5 of the US cost. Many generic
antibiotics can also be had for 1/3 the US price.
Steve Harris, M.D.