Anyone ever purchased antibiotics in Mexico?

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West Central Illinois
909 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
I know that I need to be careful about expiration dates, but how much can you buy and bring back onto the ship? Into the states? I am only interested in buying a couple of bottles of ammoxicillin.
Arlington, TX
370 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Hi -
We just returned from Cozumel with Amoxicillin with no problems. And, we saw it for sale when we cruised to Puerto Vallarta and other Mexican Riviera ports.

You do not need a prescription. You can buy as much as you want, altho' I wouldn't buy too much since you don't want it to expire. There is no problem bringing it on to the ship, either.

The price will depend on where you buy it. Closer to the ship dock it will be more; further into the city it will be less expensive.
Hope this helps.
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West Central Illinois
909 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Thank you for the information, lizbeth.
Jim, my neighbors go to Texas in the winter and go across the border and buy medicine all the time. They have to declare it at the border and the guard looks at what they have purchased and how much. They can only bring so much of any one medicine in at a time. This leads me to believe that it is not illegal or surely they would be arrested.
I think it would be different for a controlled substance like hydrocodone. I think that would be illegal.
122 Posts
Joined Oct 2006

To bring the medications into the United States, travelers will need to show a valid U.S. prescription to the inspector at the Port of Entry. The U.S. prescription is in addition to the Mexican prescription used to purchase the medications in Mexico. For more information on bringing medications into the United States, purchasers may refer to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website:

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West Central Illinois
909 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Okay, I'm more than a little confused now. My neighbors always bring Ammoxicillin back from Mexico and they do not have a prescription. Their purchases are always checked at the border (port of entry), the bottles counted, and that's it. They told me that you are allowed to bring a certain amount back without a prescription. They are both retired, go to Texas every winter, and do this every year. They have been my neighbors for 30 years. If it is illegal, why wouldn't they be arrested at the border? I still think it must be only controlled substances that you need a prescription for.
Houston TX
3,536 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Amoxicillian is allowed, I bring it back. It is the controlled substances, such as narcotics you must have a script for. They will sell them to you but beware, if they find them in customs you might find you are being detained for drug smuggling. I have a friend, American, that lived in Mexico for awhile and that is how I found out what is allowed.

I bought 2 big bottles of Amoxicillian and paid less than 30 dollars, forget how much exactly. Cheaper than going to the doc and getting a script. I dont take it much but my hubby is from a country where you can buy it over the counter, so he takes it for everything.
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Queensbury NY
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Joined Jul 2005
I have purchased drugs - antibiotics, Silvadene cream and topical steroidal creams in Mexico on several cruises. I had NO problem carrying them back with me nor have I ever heard of a cruiser having a problem.

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Tularosa, New Mexico
92 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Failure to declare is a crime, brining in most prescription items is usually smooth as long as it is a reasonble supply (30 day). I usually bring back a bottle of Mexican Vanilla, perhaps some cologne, a souvenier plate and some meds when I cross from Juarez back into El Paso......and I declare them in that order and always hold up the bag if they want to look in it. Have never had a problem yet and been doing it nineteen years. Maybe one out of ten crossings the person will actually look into the bag, most of the time they do not. Just remember, failure to declare IS the crime if they find something you have not mentioned when asked. They are not out to grab the honest traveler - there are much bigger 'fish' to find and bait.
West Central Illinois
909 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Thanks all! I just wanted to get a couple of bottles of antibiotics to have on hand at home for those times when you need something but hate to go to the dr. I miss the "good old days" when you could call your dr and ask for a prescription and get it without the darned office call.
1,501 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
we always pick up a few bottles of amoxicillin and a few Z-packs each time we go to Mexico on our cruises, never had a problem , Ever! It has come in handy plenty of time especially when my DH had an impacted know how that goes , always starts on a Friday after 4pm!!! LOL. It is not the cost , he is retired military and our scripts are dirt cheap anyway, it is the hassle of having to go to the dr's office first to get the script!
Waxahachie, Texas
758 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I grew up in the El Paso area too (Anthony, New Mexico) I used to cross the border to Juarez Mexico too and bring over medicine and never had any problems. May I recommend buying disenfriol that is cheap and works for colds etc.......
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Our parents retired in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and we visit often. They and almost all their 'Snowbird' friends buy many of their prescription drugs across the border. We buy some of ours there when we visit too. We've never had anyone question us at the border, except to ask what we bought. We just reply, "Medications", and that's that. I've never even had my sacks looked into. Note: Do NOT say, 'drugs' when you are asked. Many of us in the Midwest refer to prescriptions as 'drugs', as in what we get at a drugstore, but this is not the term to use when crossing the border!!!

Many border towns and tourist towns, such as cruise ports, have many very clean, well-run pharmacies that cater primarily to Americans. Prescriptions are not required. However, this does not apply to controlled substances or narcotic drugs, which cannot (legally) be purchased in Mexico anyway, without a prescription and cannot be legally brought into the US.

Many prescriptions are substantially cheaper, from 1/3 to 1/10 of the price back home. For instance, Renova cost me about $7 in Mexico, $75 dollars in the U.S. Some medicines are not available. If you are dealing with a reputable pharmacy I don't think there is much worry about the wrong or fake drugs or old drugs; these businesses want to keep their U.S. customers happy and won't jepeodize their business with questionable products.

I've never bought medicines at a cruise port and brought them back to the US, however, so that may be a different scenario.
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Houston, TX
1,189 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Customs at the US border is a federal agency. They have specific regulations on what is legal to bring back into the United States.

However, in many states is it is illegal to possess prescription drugs without a prescription. I have seen people go to Mexico, purchase drugs, get pulled over for a routine traffic violation back in Texas and then get arrested for having a few bags full of prescription drugs in their car.

Federal jurisdiction does not equate to state jurisdiction.
137 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I bought Cipro in Puerto Vallarta a few years back, carried it on the plane, declared it at customs and had NO problems whatsoever.
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Originally posted by clerky96
I know that I need to be careful about expiration dates, but how much can you buy and bring back onto the ship? Into the states? I am only interested in buying a couple of bottles of ammoxicillin.
You can legally bring in a 90 day supply. I order by mail from Cozumel but that is $12 shipping from It is an american company. I have bought generic amoxicillan, renova and an anti imflammatory there. Just be careful when you buy in person on Cozumel that you are buying from a pharmacy and that everything looks like it is packaged professionally like we have in the US. Of course all the writing will be in spanish. Greg
4,361 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
In Dec. I bought 4 bottles of Amoxicillin and 2 of Claritin (type) on our Navigator cruise. We had no problem bringing it back with us. We just packed it into our suitcases and forgot about it.