Health & Fitness

Medications in Mexico

There are three different categories of drugs according to the law. Find out more about these categories and how to have your prescriptions filled

Many travelers purchase prescription medications in Mexico because they are often far less expensive than in their home countries. In Mexico, the sale of medicine is restricted to pharmacies.

According to President of the Playa del Carmen Medical School, Arturo Alfaro Palma, there are three categories of drugs according to law:

  1. Those which do not need a prescription to be filled, which are generally for symptomatic illnesses and can be cured with aspirin or creams.
  2. Those needing a prescription: antibiotics, pain relievers, and drugs like diazepam (Valium) that require the pharmacy to keep the prescription.
  3. Others can be filled up to three times with the same prescription, but they need to be stamped with the date and signed by the pharmacy, the prescription must then be kept on the third visit.

Strong painkillers like morphine and other morphine derived products can only able to be filled by the head of the pharmacy and receipts must be kept.

The General Health Law established that the prescriptions which are given by a doctor must have the name of the medicine, and the dose and instructions on how many times per day the dose should be given.

A patient can purchase brand name or generic drugs. The doctor may prescribe a brand name drug, but it is the responsibility of the pharmacy to offer generic as an alternative.

It is important to note that you can not present a foreign prescription to be filled in a Mexican pharmacy. You should bring your prescription to a local doctor to have them write you out a prescription that can be used in a local pharmacy.

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