The spiraling costs of prescription medication in the U.S. lures many a U.S. citizen into Mexico for “cheap prescriptions”. U.S. Customs does not have specific statistics, but it is safe to say that millions of prescriptions are filled for U.S. citizens, and then illegally brought into the U.S.
Many people think that Mexico is lax in their control and laws regarding medications, including controlled substances. Many think all they have to do is visit a border pharmacy and request what ever medication it is they want. To use an old saying, “Nothing could be further from the truth”.
Mexico’s laws governing prescription drugs or medications is similar to that of the U.S. A prescription from a licensed (federally registered doctor) is required for controlled medications. If you do not do so , it is a serious crime for you and the seller, including pharmacists. AND, by law, Mexican pharmacies do not honor foreign written prescriptions.
Popular controlled medications in the U.S. such as Demerol, Ambian, Vicodin, and their generic equivalents, are not sold over the counter, and must be prescribed by a Mexican physician. If you are able to procure one of these controlled substances without the required prescription by a Federally registered M.D., the Mexican authorities can arrest you and the seller for sale and possession of a controlled substance. WARNING, you could land in a Mexican prison from 10 months to 15 years. Don’t think your American Embassy is going to bend over backwards to assist you either, contrary to thoughts of many. They will contact your kin, give you a few blankets and some vitamins, and then say “adios”. You are now at the mercy of the Mexican judicial system. Mordida, or the “bite” (bribery) does NOT ensure your release in Mexico, as many U.S. citizens have come to find out.
If you are wondering which medications are considered controlled in Mexico, you can find out by visiting the Mexican web site, cofepris.gob.mx, for a list of both generic and brand named medications.
If you are wondering what you must provide the Customs Inspectors at the Port of Entry, you will need to provide a U.S. prescription used to purchase your medication in Mexico. There is a very helpful web site for U.S. Customs and Border Protection that you can use for bringing in medications from Mexico at: www.cbp.gov
We hope this information and web links help. If you have any questions concerning this or anything else regarding travel into Mexico. Please let us know, we will do our best to assist you.
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