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 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.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection who enforces the laws for 40 government agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Narcotics and certain other drugs with a high potential for abuse – Rohypnol, GHB and Fen-Phen, to name a few – may not be brought into the United States, and there are severe penalties for trying to do so. If you need medicines that are addictive or narcotics you should:

  • Declare all drugs to the appropriate CBP official;
  • Carry in their original containers;
  • Carry only the quantity that one would normally carry for personal use only; and
  • Carry a prescription or written statement from a physician indicating the substances are being used under a doctor’s supervision & needed for your physical well-being while traveling.

If a U.S. resident wants to bring in a controlled substance (other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or LSD) but does not have a prescription for the substance issued by a U.S.-licensed practitioner (e.g., physician, dentist, etc.) who is registered with, and authorized by, the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe the medication, the individual may not import more than 50 dosage units of the medication into the United States. If the U.S. resident has a prescription for the controlled substance issued by a DEA registrant, more than 50 dosage units may be imported by that person, provided all other legal requirements are met.”

If you still have questions about what could be carried across the border you can contact the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and/or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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.

In the end it’s up to the border patrol agent to interpret the law, but if you stay within the limits here, chances are, you will get through the border.


U.S. laws are constantly changing, and the content in this article may change without notice. Mexpro has no association with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or Food and Drug Administration. If you still have questions about what could be carried across the border you can contact the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and/or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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.

Related Articles:

Mexpro would like to thank Jason, who advised us on errors within this article and provided the information to update it. 

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

  1. Jenn l

    Were can I get buprenorfina/ subutex I’m in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca I found it in Huatuco for 900 pesos a box but only the 2mg and that’s 3 hours away I take 24mg a day any help will be greatly appreciated

  2. Linda

    Is there a pharmacy in Tijuana that will fill a US prescription for Victoza and Levemir? Anybody know the cost?

  3. alejandro guzman luna

    The Rx must be written by a Mexican doctor, you can purchase it in Benavides, Guadalajara, Yzza drugstores, the cost its bettween 100 and 150 dlls. Maybe you dont even need a Rx, ask in the stores.

  4. Kim

    Can you purchase Xiidra for dry eyes in Mexico? If so, how much? With insurance, it is $499 per month here!


    Can I bring back insulin for my brother and how much. Novalog Levamir Lantis and how much.

  6. Fred Cohen

    I would like to know where I can purchase Xarelto, 20 mg in either Tijuana, San Luis or Rocky Point, Mexico with an RX from my Dr. If so, what might the cost be. Thank you in advance.

  7. Linda

    I am trying to find out if any pharmacy in Cozumel sells Lantus Solostar pens for diabetes. And maybe how much they are if they do!
    Any help would be appreciated

  8. Rowllee

    Is there trilicity. Type 2. Medication available in Mexico and how much can be brought back to the us.

    • Dwight J Etter

      Can I purchase Trulicity (type 2- Diabetes shot) in Mexico and is it allowed to be transported over the border into the United States and what would the cost be?

  9. mary

    i have sever insomnia and have tried everything under the sun. my doctor supports me trying xyrem ( ghb) but she is not willing to go though the huge hoops to be licensed to prescribe it. The med cost about 5 cents a dose to make but it costs thousands of dollars here and my medicare won’t cover it. Its a nightmare to find a doctor etc to get this med and I would love to just try it and see if it helps before I went though months of hell and hoops to find the rare doc who can prescribe, hope they do and then get though mountains of papers to get it subsidized to pay for it. I have serious health problems other the insomnia and these type of things are very taxing for me.
    I appreciate that GHB for good reason is a controlled substance and I really don’t want to land myself in a Mexican jail for trying to sleep. So, what would happen if I had a doctor write a script for a few doses to see if it worked…. she is licensed for everything but this? I would only want to try it here under her guidance in case I have any problem with it so “sampling” it there is out of the question. any thoughts are appreciated.

  10. Melissa

    Can I get rx oral steroids and bring them back to the US? As an antinflamatoty it helps with MS, arthritis and disc problems in the back.

    • Nikki

      Just to help clear up any confusion…an oral steroid is not an anti-inflammatory. Just an FYI, most anti-inflammatory meds are actually NSAIDs which mean non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A true steroid is used to suppress the immune system and that can in turn help with inflammation. With your question, its not clear what medication you are asking about.

      • Brandice L Schoenbauer

        Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in patients with inflammatory conditions such as MS, autoimmune disorders, asthma, etc… NSAIDS do not work on flares of these types of disorders or Dr’s wouldn’t be prescribing them or injecting them directly into affected joints as often as they do. It is a great option to reduce pain and swelling without the use of or lowering Narcotics prescribed to chronic conditions. Melissa should be able to find these oral corticosteroids in Mexico but should caution using them too often or too high of doses. I would definitely research for lowest effective dosage.

        • Greg

          I saw prednisone10mg available over the counter at a pharmacy in Cozumel. That was in 2016. I’m assuming you can still get it.

    • Fred Cohen

      Hello Roger,
      I too am seeking to purchase Xarelto at pharmacy in Mexico, preferably Tijuana. I would be interested in what you learn and would appreciate a response from you if you locate an answer. I thank you in advance and can be reached at
      Fred Cohen

  11. Achin4bacon

    Anyone know where to get Extended Release propanol, aka Imdur, around the border of zona or Cali? I capitalized extended because that is what I need for migraine prevention. All I could find in Los Algodones was regular propanol which is not good at preventing migraines.

  12. Tawana

    I have gastroparesis. My GI doc is wanting to put me on domperidone. It can be bought in Mexico. Can anyone tell me about this medication? And why I have to go to Mexico to get it. HELP!!!!!

    • Debbie

      It’s callled Lomotil and usually can be brought at the mini market in your resort or in am pharmacy without an prescription . I also suffer from IBS and I always buy it when in Mexico in case it flares up . Hope this is helpful . Ps most GI medications are available here without an RX.

    • Stacey Hussla

      I had that condition to. That med doesnt help. Pain mgmt was the only daily solution. However….i have a great GI Dr. Who gives me internal botox shots at or near the Vegas nerve. Works for 3 months & cost $1300.

  13. Jennifer A Brado

    Can I buy Letus CD in Mexico without a prescription? Can I bring it back to the States? How much does it cost?

  14. Jason

    Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth (CBP):

    “U.S. residents entering the United States at international land borders who are carrying a validly obtained controlled substance (other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or LSD), are subject to certain additional requirements. If a U.S. resident wants to bring in a controlled substance (other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or LSD) but does not have a prescription for the substance issued by a U.S.-licensed practitioner (e.g., physician, dentist, etc.) who is registered with, and authorized by, the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe the medication, the individual may not import more than 50 dosage units of the medication into the United States. If the U.S. resident has a prescription for the controlled substance issued by a DEA registrant, more than 50 dosage units may be imported by that person, provided all other legal requirements are met.”

    That being said, it does boil down to the CBP agent you are dealing with, and how they interpret the law. 99% of the time, if they see you only have a few boxes of 10 pills, they don’t even check to see what it is precisely because you are under the 50 dosage unit limit. There are 50 dosage unit exemptions, but the only one currently listed is for Cipro.

  15. Naz

    Hi I’m in Cancun near Riu Cancun hotel. I take Zopiclone/Imovane sleeping pills and I’ve list a strip of 14. I can’t sleep without them and they are prescribed to me in the UK. How or where can I purchase some to keep me going untik the end of my holiday which is a further 17 days? Would appreciate your assistance. Thanks guys

  16. Gayle Roberts

    How can you find out what meds are fake? I just read a report o. Ripp-off that the Amoxicillin I bought while in Mexico appears to be fake. Its call Gimalxina Amoxicilina.
    I also bought some Ciprofloxacino (cipro) by Omega Laboratories and Ampi-Caps Ampicilina by Kenedot Labs. I’m worried they are fake. Any clue or suggestion for finding out?

  17. Lynda Black

    I use AdVair DISCUS 250/50 and Atrovent for my COPD..and my co-pay keeps going up…can they be purchased at a pharmacy in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico?

    • Belinda

      Hi Lynda – Did you find the answer to the question? I too take Advair and want to know if I may be able to get it in Nogales. If you were able to buy it, what was the price?

  18. Rick

    Yes. You can buy painkillers in T.J. I have failed back syndrom with a lot of pain. I live in Tijuana , I go to a pain Dr. anestiliogy, and I recive monthly rx for 40mg oxycodone i.r. only 2 pharmacies have it in Tijuana at this time. I do things legaly however if you want to roll the dice its not hard to find oxy, norco,…sold at various pharmacy. Expect to pay $1 milligram, and if you get caught by federalies witout a rx, you will go to jail. Subutex, valium, xanax tramadol, can be prescribed by general md.s in Tijuana and can be filled at most pharmacy. Always cary copy of script with your meds. while in mexico.

    • Rachel

      If you cross the border from California how hard is it to find a doctor and get a prescription? And how much does it cost?

      • Roxanna Brock McDade

        There are pharmacies scattered throughout the Tijuana (assuming that’s where you are going); often every 2-3 blocks. And usually they have a doctor. There’s lots of information on Tijuana pharmacies online. You can search Google or Trip Advisor has reviews of pharmacies.

      • Jimmy crackcorn

        Rachel…Costs between 50 and 100 bucks for the dr rx. Depends on what drug you seek also. Alot of drs will rx you and the farm wont fill it depends on the drug. If its oxycodone theres only a couple drs that can write it and get it filled. Email me at. Nut mustardx at Ayy oh ell dott com

        • Lori

          I got treated for acute bronchitis in February 2018 – including medicine was less than 30 bucks. Easy to get in to see a doc. Ask around about who is most reputable. Doc is usually at the pharmacy unless you need a hospital for an emergency.

    • Anonymous

      You don’t need a prescription for tramadol in Mex. It’s over the counter. Buy them monthly.

  19. 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

      • Achin4bacon

        Eh I know a customs agent. Basically it boils down to this. Declare the drug! If you declare it, and have enough for personal use only then they will probably let you across. If you are unlucky they will confiscate the medication and then let you cross the border. They will not arrest you if you declare the medicine. Notice I used the word medicine. If you try to bring back an illegal drug (ie cocaine) then obviously you are going to prison even if you declare it. Few custom agents will confiscate your Ambien or whatever, but from what my friend said most customs agents including him don’t care as long as you say hey I bought Soma for myself because I have severe muscle spasms and this is just two weeks worth or maybe a months worth. They will almost always say ok cool have a nice day.

  20. 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.

    • Anonymous

      How do I lmow if the tramadol is fake. I go to Los Cabo’s a couple times a year and usually bring 4 bottles of Tramadol back each time. I have 4 dogs on tramadol. I have never thought it might be illegal as I live in Canada. The cost here from the vet is approx 2.50 a pill so it’s about $20 a day cost for me. Not including thyroid and meta cam and 2 other pain meds. I assumed it was legal to buy since I never needed prescription to buy from them. I wonder if I should from now carry a vet prescription. Anyhow sorry back to the question. How do you know if the tramadol is fake.? Mine come in capsules from Mexico. But in Canada they are white tablets

  21. 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?

  22. 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?

  23. 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

    • stephanie

      they do sell it in mexico but it cannot be brought back into the u.s as its a controlled substance.

  24. 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!

  25. 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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