Tips for getting your RX Medications Over-the-Counter in Mexico

What to expect when buying OTC Medications in Mexico

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Did you know that you can buy most of your prescription medications over the counter in Puerto Vallarta?

It’s no joke that medications in the United States can be outrageously expensive. Residents have long been seeking alternatives to buying their meds in the U.S., resorting to purchasing their medications in other North American countries like Canada & Mexico.

Many people come to Mexico specifically for the medical treatments, dental work and the easily accessible medications. On just about every corner in the city lies a pharmacy where you can purchase everything from antibiotics to narcotics, no prescription needed and for a fairly affordable price.

The types of medications you can find here are broad, such as low cost generic anxiety medications including Ativan, Valium, Diazepam, Rivotril and Xanax. There were also choices for super strength pain killers such as Tylenol 3 and Voltaren, and muscle relaxers. ADHD sufferers can load up on Ritalin and dieters determined to lose weight with medication have their fair choice as well.

Here is a picture of the list of medications available:

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Illegal medications that will not clear with U.S. Border Customs

Now before you go stocking up on pharmaceuticals to bring back to the U.S., note that federal law prohibits the importation of any drugs that have not been FDA approved, including foreign-made versions of popular U.S. pharmaceuticals. 

Here are some examples of the controlled substances that are illegal to bring back over the border from Mexico:

  • Xanax

  • Ambien

  • Tylenol containing Codeine

  • Cipro

  • Oxycontin

  • Percocet

  • Vicodin

  • Lunesta

  • Phenobarbital

  • Various antidepressants

 Pharmacy store front with OTC drug prices listed in USD and Pesos

Pharmacy store front with OTC drug prices listed in USD and Pesos

Popular Drugs That Can Be Purchased in Mexico & Brought Back to the United States

Pharmaceuticals that you have purchased in Mexico must be declared at the United States border. Lying, or being caught with a large amount of drugs beyond a reasonable amount (more than 50 combined total doses) can result in confiscation of the drugs, as well as fines and/or arrest by U.S. Customs agents. Some drugs that require a prescription in the United States can be purchased without one in Mexico, but prescription drugs must be kept in their original packaging and contain proper identifying information of the drug and the prescribing pharmacist, if there is one.

Some of the more common prescription drugs that you can buy without worrying about breaking U.S. Federal law include:

  • Prilosec

  • Viagra

  • Levitra

  • Lorazepam

  • Valium

  • Various antibiotics

  • Birth control

Be aware of these things when purchasing drugs in Mexico

  • Counterfeit medications are a real thing, so be sure to check packaging thoroughly.

  • Pharmacists in Mexico may not have as much medical training as in U.S., call your pharmacist for clear medication advice

  • If you experience side effects to any medications you likely won’t have any legal recourse

  • Similar drugs made in Mexico may have different active ingredients. Check dosing and ingredients thoroughly

  • Bring a photo of the medication or look it up on the internet to compare with the medication you are considering purchasing

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Before traveling to any country be sure you follow these quick medical preparation tips

Thanks for reading!


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