Bringing Cheaper Drugs and Pharmaceuticals from Mexico? Not a Bright Idea!
Why Would an American Consider Buying Mexican Drugs?
Perhaps you have heard about the cheaper prescription drugs to be found south of the border and have been thinking you would like to take advantage of this. With the incredibly high price of some medications, this really comes as no surprise. Certainly the savings you could enjoy might make this a tempting idea, but before you head to Mexico with a handful of cash, there are some things you definitely need to consider.
Are Prescription Drugs Really Cheaper in Mexico?
While indeed it is true that certain drugs do cost less, maybe even substantially less, across the border, you must consider such things as whether or not you have insurance that will cover the cost and whether or not the Mexican version is the exact same drug in order to determine if there is any added value in purchasing drugs outside the United States.
Certainly it is very unlikely your insurance will cover medicines purchased in Mexico. But for the 50 million uninsured Americans, this may not be a consideration. Since the savings available can be considerable, perhaps you might feel it would be worth it to buy Mexican drugs. But first there is more to consider.
The Mexican authorities do not monitor production of pharmaceuticals the way the United States does. So it is quite possible the drugs you buy may only be a placebo or maybe even something much more dangerous. With less stringent regulation, there is definitely a possibility that the drugs may not be from a reliable source. Studies have shown that approximately 20% of drugs sold in Mexico to Americans are counterfeit. And even if the drugs you purchase are legitimate, there is no guarantee it is exactly the same as the United States version. Are you willing to take these sorts of chances?
Is It Legal to Bring Prescription Drugs Back from Mexico?
There is no easy answer to this question, but there are definitely some things to consider. First, any drug not approved bt the United States Food and Drug Association cannot be legally brought into the country under any circumstances. So right off the bat, we know that anything fitting this description would not be allowed. But what about drugs you have a valid prescription for? Are these banned as well?
In most cases, so long as you are only bringing a reasonable amount with you, this would be allowed. A reasonable amount would likely be considered a one month supply or less. It might also be a concern if the quantity is more than fifty doses even if this is less than a one month supply. And you must be able to present a valid prescription for these drugs.
Do not think you can simply not mention the pharmaceuticals as you are required to declare these to customs and failure to do so carries stiff penalties. And do not forget to consider what we discussed earlier about you may not have received the drug you asked for as well. What if the actual drug you are acrrying is something unapproved by the FDA?
In addition to all these things to consider, you must also keep in mind that while some drugs for which you need prescriptions for in the United States are sold over-the-counter in Mexico, any drug that is a controlled substance in Mexico is not allowed to be purchased without a prescription from a Mexican doctor. Penalties can be quite severe and result in lengthy jail sentences in a Mexican prison. Is that where you would like to spend your next few years?
What Will Happen If I Am Caught with Illegal Prescription Drugs?
If you make it out of Mexico safely with your prescription drugs and are found to be in possession of illegal narcotics once you are on the United States side of the border, you may only have these drugs confiscated. But depending on the quantity and type of narcotic, you might be facing significantly greater penalties including the possibility of prison. Whatever you do, never lie about the drugs you have with you.
If you are bringing prescription drugs into the United States, remember that they must be for your personal medical use. You must have a valid prescription and they must be in their original container which identifies the substance as well as the name and address of the pharmacy and pharmacist that filled the prescription. Is it worth all this to get cheaper drugs in Mexico? That is something you will have to decide. But my best advice would be stay in the United States for your prescriptions!
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