Posted March 14, 2017 by & filed under Buying, Medical Tourism, Shopping.

Prescription drugsIt’s no secret that drug and pharmaceutical prices in the United States can be outrageously expensive at times. Recent media reports have mentioned how many people are seeking to purchase drugs in other countries or online. And if you live near the border with Mexico there is an easy, viable option.

Many common drugs available in the United States can also be purchased in Mexico, often at a significant reduction in cost. But before you take your prescription across the border or plan on doing a major shop at a local Mexican drugstore, you may want to learn more about what drugs are available, and which ones will be allowed back across the border.

Purchasing Pharmaceuticals in Mexico

People traveling across the Mexican border from California, Texas and other bordering states to purchase cheaper pharmaceuticals is not uncommon. In addition to being less expensive, many drugs that require a prescription in the United States are sold over the counter in Mexico.

But it should first be noted that federal law prohibits the importation of any drugs that have not been FDA approved, and this includes foreign-made versions of popular U.S. pharmaceuticals. Additionally, some drugs that are considered controlled substances by the DEA cannot be brought back to the US. Examples of some of the controlled substances that are illegal to bring back over the border from Mexico include:

  • Xanax
  • Ambien
  • Tylenol containing Codeine
  • Cipro
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Lunesta
  • Phenobarbital
  • Various antidepressants

It is a good idea to check the complete list of controlled substances to see if the drug you wish to purchase is on it before making the trip to Mexico and attempting to bring the drug back over the border.

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

There are a wide range of medicines that can be purchased in Mexico without problems. 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

Things to Watch Out for When Purchasing Prescription Drugs in Mexico

Counterfeit drugs may be masquerading as popular brands. Check packaging very carefully.

While you can get a prescription for medication from a Mexican doctor, the pharmacists at Mexican pharmacies may not have as much medical training as U.S. pharmacists. Additionally, if you have side effects or a bad reaction to any drugs purchased in Mexico, you may not have any legal recourse.

Drugs that appear familiar may actually have different active ingredients, so it is important to read the ingredients, dosage instructions and other pertinent information carefully. It can be helpful to bring a photo of the U.S. packaging and information with you so you can compare.

Bringing Prescription Drugs Back Over the Mexican Border

US Border with MexicoAll pharmaceuticals that you have purchased in Mexico must be declared at the 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.

Other Medical Discounts

Did you know that medical tourism is becoming popular in Mexico among U.S. and Canadian citizens? Mexico has put a lot of money into improving medical facilities and training doctors at top schools in the U.S. and other countries. If you need a medical procedure that is not affordable, or your deductible exceeds the funds in your pocketbook, look no further than Mexico. Go to for information on procedures in Juarez, Mexico.

Driving to Mexico? Don’t forget Mexico auto insuranceit’s required and your U.S./Canadian policy will not cover you there.

The latest addition to our Mexico insurance products is travel medical evacuation insurance, providing air evacuation services to your home hospital in the event of an emergency in Mexico.

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30 Responses to “Popular Rx Drugs that can be Purchased in Mexico & Taken Across the Border”

  1. Gloria

    My friend is a paraplegic and is asking me to take seven medications on my way back on the plane. Will this get me in trouble. I don’t have his doctors perscrition

  2. Alan Kern

    Watch out for the pharmacy 57A Ave Nte Lc2 in Playa del Carmen on 5th Ave. Buyer beware of this pharmacy. We purchased Tramadol, Lisinopril, and Tafil recently and they are fake drugs. They refuse to give refunds and so you’re stuck with fraudulent drugs.

  3. Debbie S

    Do you know if Estrace or Yuvafem, which are estrogen replacement medications can be brought back into the US from Mexico? Is a prescription required to obtain this medication in Mexico?

  4. Shauna Henderson

    Do I need a prescription to purchase lorazapam in Tijuana? Can I bring it back across the US border if so how many can I have filled?

  5. katie

    im trying to find out where i can find VENESPRI aka in the U.S as Lorcaserin (belviq) a weight loss pill. i know its been legal in the mexico since 2014 but it cant seem to locate it. if anyone is going to mexico soon can you check to see if its for sale and price?
    thank you

  6. ShojoBakunyu

    I’m thinking of going to Nogalas to refill Prozac and take 2 pills per day or 60 pills total per month.

    I have 2 questions:
    1. Is Prozac on the list of antidepressants that can be bought and transported back to the US?

    2. Does this mean I can only get 1 month of pills? I was hoping to do what I do in the US and get 6 months worth of medication all at once which would be 360 pills. 2 X 30days X 6 months.

    I’m so confused!

  7. K Robinson

    This would be so much more informative if you described which cities HAVE medications. I used to buy painkillers in Tijuana a couple of decades ago. When I had loads of painful dental work in Guadalajara recently, I was dismayed to find out that you basically can’t get painkillers in Guadalajara (presumably unless you are dying of cancer). Locals (MANY of them) said you had to go to “tourist cities” to get painkillers.

    So I am assuming the beach towns and Tijuana, but I would like to know what the situation is like in specific cities, such a Mexico City. It would behoove a Mexican expat article to have this info.

    • Roxanna Brock McDade

      I’m sorry Katherine that we cannot answer your questions about where to purchase the medications you are looking for. The purpose of this article was to share which medications can be taken across the border into the U.S., for those looking for a less expensive option. We have no way of obtaining the information about where certain drugs can be purchased in Mexico. But, we greatly appreciate your posting to our site and giving us your information. I hope it will help others who read this article. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      Matamoros still has opiate pain pill markets but expect to pay 6 dollars for 10 mgs.

    • Dianna

      Opioids are almost impossible to get in TJ. The strongest med you can now buy is Tramadol unless you have a pharmacy connection. Most Pharmacies won’t even sell Tramadol anymore.

      • Steve M

        Does anyone kmow the name of which pharmacys sell tramadol in TJ?
        Im a vet with severe joint pain. These help me the best without affecting my thought process as my everyday activities.

        • Anonymous

          I’m in the Cancun airport and they carry Tramadol 50 and 100. 100 pills for $40.00

      • Anonymous

        Tijuana pharmacies still carry plenty of tramadol, better luck with big name pharmacies, 2 bottles; 100 mg,100 capsules for $17 just this month. Flexeril as well. Never found any medications from any of the pharmacies there to be fake.


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