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Mexico For Meds?
A question about buying medications in Mexico takes me to the far corners of the internet, with mixed results. Botox, Mexican pharmacies, online drugs, warnings, links -- this one will keep you busy!

Mexico For Meds?

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Posted Sunday, October 24, 2004

Hi, Thanks ever so for your useful website. I hope you are profiting from it in some way.

I am a physician licensed in AZ. I am fluent in Spanish. I would like to purchase Botox or Tritox and Restylane (synthetic collagen) or Perlane for doing cosmetic injections (for which I am certified). I want to save my patients some money. I will not resell these at a profit to other doctors.

Do you know if I can get these drugs in Nogales? They are not controlled substances. Botox goes for about $450/bottle in the States and I have heard you can get it in Nogales for $80. I would drive down there and bring back a "6 month" supply of each. I would like to buy you both lunch or dinner for your help.

Dr. S

Carl replies: Before I get to your question about Botox, doctor, I want to explain that our "profit" from this website comes in two ways: satisfaction at helping people enjoy and better understand Mexico and... sales of our book, The People's Guide To Mexico. In fact, unless we sell books and advertising, we really can't afford to maintain this site. With this in mind, I'm going to suggest that instead of buying us lunch (a thoughtful offer which unfortunately requires us to travel to Arizona) that you consider putting The People's Guide To Mexico at the top of your Christmas gift list. If you also buy the Botox, that might also make the People's Guide a deductible expense. Well... just a thought.

If you've poked around The People's Guide To Mexico website for a while you know that the topic of buying medications in Mexico is a hot one. It is also complex, and the information available is often contradictory, puzzling, inaccurate, or just plain frightening. For all of those reasons, and more, there are times when we wish that we'd never got into the subject of medications in the first place. On the other hand... so many people have a real need to save money on meds and health care, that we feel somewhat obligated to try to clear the air a bit.

The reason I'm rambling on about this is because in my search for answers to your query about Botox, I've come up with information and resources related to buying medications in Mexico that is both reassuring and disquieting. You'll see what I mean in the notes I've added below:

First of all, your search for Botox: since you are a physician and speak Spanish, I suggest that you cut to the chase and contact a physician in Mexico. I assume that professional courtesies would extend across the border, saving you the uncertainty of using the other sources of information I offer here.

This site,, offers "Find a doctor in your area for plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, infertility, botox, anti-aging, cataracts, cosmetic dentistry, ophthalmology, hair restoration, laser vision correction, facial plastic surgery, implant dentistry and more."

There are links to doctors in Mexico, such as this one in Reynosa:

From my layperson's point of view, this Nogales doctor's credentials and website were reassuring....

There's also a cosmetic health clinic in San Carlos, 4 hours from Nogales:

OK, perhaps you'd rather deal directly with a farmacia in Mexico. In the "for what it's worth" department, I found this list of Mexican pharmacies at the non-profit (discount fertility meds).

Although the article has no date and there's no easy way to vouch for its accuracy, there is an even more extensive Mexican pharmacy list at:

Yet another, far more risky way to buy medications is online. I have no way of knowing how legit this site is but they have a big online drug catalog with prices. was rated five stars at, but after reading messages at drugbuyers that recommend not declaring drugs at the U.S. border I wonder if "" wouldn't be more appropriate.

Moving on, I dredged up several articles from what I'll call the "mainstream" that cast serious doubt on the whole idea of buying medications in Mexico. In fact, if you take these articles really seriously, you have to ask yourself... how is it that anyone in Mexico who regularly uses medications there is still alive and well? I think the answer is obvious -- be careful, of course, but you don't have to be paranoid.

This first one is a 1.2 mb download. In addition to a frightening piece on Mexican meds, this newsletter includes a nice article on Gila monsters.

Univ of Arizona College of Pharmacy Newsletter: Border Pharmacies Lure American with Low Prices, Easy Access: But at a Cost?

An AARP piece is much more balanced and well worth reading: AARP magazine, The Mexican Connection: Millions head south of the border for cheap drugs. But is it safe? A special report

This Los Angeles Times article by Kathleen Doheny is also worth a look: Think twice before buying prescription drugs in Mexico,0,5600415.column?coll=la-travel-headlines

Finally, here's a July, 2001 article that actually includes phone numbers from people who make a habit of warning about the dangers of Mexican medications. Perhaps you ought to give them a call?

UT Austin pharmacist issues warning about drugs from abroad
Contact: Vicki Matustik, (512) 232-1769, Dr. Marvin Shepherd, (512) 471-5607, or Richard Bonnin

Well, that exhausts my current knowledge. If you find anything useful here I do have one additional request -- please let us know how it goes for you, so that we can pass the information on to others. Good luck!

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