Experts weigh in on how safe Mexican meds are

YUMA, Ariz. -Pharmaceuticals in Mexico are historically cheaper than in the U.S. and many consumers are taking advantage of the savings.

“The Combivent(inhaler) alone in United States is $327 each and down here they’re $25,” said Utah resident Lory Adams.


Still, the world health organization reports the pharmaceutical industry brings in more than $10 billion a year to the U.S.
Some patients try to keep more money in their pockets by crossing the border into Mexico to fill up on medicines.

“You can’t possibly make the comparison. You know when it’s time to get the medicine you know you need to make a trip to Los Algodones,” said Adams.

From ibuprofen to inhalers, many pharmacies in Los Algodones has it covered.
Giving patrons a chance to reap the savings by filling prescriptions that in the U.S. would cost hundreds of dollars more.

“An inhaler that I use for my allergies cost me $280 over there(U.S) and I get it here(Mexico) for $25,” Yuma resident Mercedes Olaiz said.

Pharmacy worker Rafael Sanchez who works in Los Algodones couldn’t say why the cost is so much lower but claims the products they sell are the same as those sold in the U.S.

“I would not know why because in reality it’s all of the same ingredients and chemistry on it. But it’s a lot cheaper,” said Sanchez.

Yuma Regional Medical Center Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator Jacob Schwarz cautions customers headed to Mexico for drugs. He says that’s because products are not heavily regulated in mexico as they are in the states, which could explain the low prices.

“There have been studies that have looked at medications from across the border that came from non FDA plants and they’ve sometimes seen that you don’t quite get the same drug that you would if you bought it here in the states,” said Schwarz.

Schwarz does say some products could be safer to buy than others.

“A multi-vitamin. Given we are not given something like high blood pressure or I would not recommend antibiotics because if it doesn’t kill the infection then the infections going to get worse,” said Schwarz.

Schwarz recommends if you buy medication in Mexico that you monitor the product to make sure it’s working efficiently.

Either way more customers like Adams say they will continue to make the trip into Mexico for a taste of savings and culture.

“The margaritas are great and the food was wonderful,” said Adams.

About The Author

Denelle Confair graduated with her Bachelors from Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast and Mass Communication. She got her first on air reporter job for the NBC affiliate in Montana. After her time there she reported for the NBC affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In Texas she covered multiple stories on the Gulf Cartel and immigration. Now she says she's glad to be back in her home state of Arizona. In her free time she enjoys hiking and writing. For story ideas you can email her at or find her on Facebook.

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