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Prescription Drugs — México

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Be careful bringing large amounts of prescription drugs in or out of México. If the Méxican police believe the amount is excessive or the medications are being abused they can make an arrest. To avoid questions about the legality of prescription drugs carry them in the original container wrapped with the prescription.

Any medication classified as a controlled substance by the Méxican government must, by law, be purchased with a prescription written by a physician licensed to do so in México. There are many medications in travelers' home countries that are not consider controlled substances in México. To find out if a medication is considered controlled in México consult with a Méxican pharmacist or a physician.

By Méxican law, foreign prescriptions cannot be honored by a pharmacist in México. Getting a pharmacist to sell a controlled substance without a Méxican prescription is still illegal. Méxican police can arrest the purchaser and the pharmacist and charge them with possession and sale of a controlled substance. Purchasing a controlled substance without a legal prescription in México is a serious crime for both the purchaser and the pharmacist. The sentence for possession of a controlled substance is steep, ten months to fifteen years in a Méxican prison. That said, this is rarely enforced. Most pharmacies will dispense most medications without a prescription.

Americans take millions of trips annually to Méxican border-cities to purchase cheap medications. Be aware that the quality of the medications dispensed in Méxican pharmacies is suspect; studies show that 25% of medications are substandard or counterfeit. Be especially careful when buying medications from pharmacies along the border. There are news reports of Méxican police in cahoots with pharmacies extorting money from customers who purchased medications legally.

Every countries' laws differ for bringing prescription medications purchased while abroad in to the country. Travelers should check with their customs office for specifics.

American citizens need to present valid US and Méxican prescriptions at the Port of Entry to prove they are legally entitled to possess the medication in the US and the medication was purchased legally in México. Check the US Customs and Border Protection website: www.cbp.gov for more details.

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