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Frase 04-13-2007 12:26 AM

When I was on my second cruise ever, one of the ports of call was Cozumel. When I went walking around San Miguel (dowtown Cozumel), I couldn't help but notice that there may have been one or two dedicated pharmacies and in every corner store they also sold prescription medicine, too. I noticed the real hot selling Rx meds were the ones for male EDS: ******, ******, Levitra. Hopefully it will be a few decades before I need those

Anyway, they had other prescription medications for sale too. Just show them the money; no questions asked (except maybe for the really notorius "Schedule 1" meds: Valium, OxyContin,Tylenol w/Codein, Hydrocodon, etc.). I did happen to see one or two meds I am taking for high blood pressure and cholesterol. I was tempted to purchase some, but I decided not to. I was worried about counterfit or expired meds.

So, has anyone had expierience with purchasing prescription meds in Cozumel. In terms of prescription medicine, can you trust what you are purchasing in Cozumel?

Andrealovescruising 04-13-2007 08:00 AM

Frase, What's your Fear Factor? Personally.... No Way, No How for me. I've seen enough Dateline and 20/20 episodes, thank you. A'ndrea

Nica 04-20-2007 11:09 AM

schedule 1 drugs would be cocaine etc. Valium and Oxycontin are, I believe, schedule 2. Hydrocodone would be a schedule 3, but enough about that.
From my experience, my mother is a pharmacist in Nicaragua and owns her own pharmacy. In these countries not everyone can afford to pay for doctor's visits. The majority of the population barely make enough for the essentials. So, pharmacies try to help these individuals by paying a doctor to sign off on these prescriptions once they make a sale. Before the pharmacy is able to restock the supplies, the pharmaceutical companies requires them to have the prescription signed by the doctor to get X amount of the drug to replenish stock. The amount the pharmacies pay the doctors is minimal. Yes, there is liability involved for the doctor but they are willing to take that chance. In Nicaragua is not unheard to have a Doctor driving a taxi just because he/she does not have the right connections to get a job out of school. Medical school is free or very cheap. But in return, One has to have 1 to 2 years of community service (servio social) in very poverty sticken locales. It is during these two years that doctors get their experience before they can go on their own.
The economy is not as it is here. I wish I could sit here and discuss it but we'll save that conversation for one night over some scotch. Also, understand that addiction from prescription drugs is very low in these countries for the lack of fundings by the individuals. You mentioned ******, ******, and Levitra. Well, you must know that in these countries there is alot of machismo involved. Their performance is something that is very valuable to males. I would not be surprise to find out that a man did not eat for a day in order to buy one of those pills. Again, *** everyday is very rare, so there is no chance that they will starve to death by missing a meal here and there
Also, the drugs you find in this countries can be manufactured in the USA, Mexico, Germany, etc. However, it all deals with the policies in those countries. With Ortega coming back to power in Nicaragua, he wants to stop all the imported drugs an sell only the drugs manufactured in Nicaragua. These drugs tend to be of lesser qualities for they do not have to follow FDA approval. You can get your doctor to write you a RX for three months and get it through a mail-in-service and you only pay one copay and have three months of meds. There are also certain pharmaceutical companies that offer rebates on their medications. You just have to get a card from that company and see which medicines apply. I hope this gives you a little insight. Sorry that this went so long. happy sailings.

tncruiseman 04-20-2007 11:56 AM

The FDA approved weight loss prescription drugs are readily available in Cozumel, or most any Central American port, at a fraction of the cost. Lowex 15mg works great with no side effects.

Nica 04-20-2007 01:43 PM

As I tried to point out, those countries that allow to have imported meds or meds made in that country to be sold in the USA must meet FDA approval and it does not matter where you buy them. The prescription will always be the same. However, many drugs are not FDA regulated or approved. Take Tigan for example, a nausea medicine has been in use in the united states for a long period of time without FDA approval and is finally getting pulled or should I say that providers are not encouraged to keep prescribing. Yes, what you say is true. Mexico has many FDA approved meds at fraction of the cost and so does Canada.
It may be not be a bad idea to buy that weight loss pill while on the cruise. I definitely needed after visiting that buffet line

swimmersonboard 05-18-2007 02:22 PM

I guess this may be a controversial subject but I do buy antibiotics everytime we are in Cozumel. We have 3 bio kids and 5 adopted and strep goes through our house about 2-3x/year. If you multiply our $15 copay x 10 it can get steep and then add buying the meds to that. If I have one child test positive and then the rest of us get sick we just take the meds we bought in Cozumel. I've only about *********** and Augmenten but both of them look EXACTLY the same the pills that are prescribed at home by our docs.

TrvlPro 05-18-2007 03:02 PM

Be cautious, there are reputable pharmacists there and like everything else in life there are those out to make a dollar with no qualms about how or who gets harmed in the process. Where there is no regulation there is abuse. The Rolex you buy at the pier looks just like the one at the jeweler back home as well to the untrained eye. Personally I'll pay the difference, I only have one me and one family. I can earn more money, I can't replace me or my family members if something I bought on a street corner causes a reaction or does nothing when I need it to recover. If it does cause a reaction the medical care needed to fix the problem may dwarf the cost of the savings.

You certainly all have the right to your own decisions here but remember how high the stakes are if your gamble results in one of those 20/20, 60 Minutes episodes previously posted.

Cheers, Neil

PA Steve Rocky Mount 05-18-2007 07:58 PM

On my last cruise, I bought some generic CELEBREX made in India. It was the same thing and worked well. HOWEVER, while I was in the store, a guy came in and wanted LORTABS. The girl on the counter gave him some pills and said they were Lortabs. I'm a Physician Assistant...just like NICA. I looked at the pills...they were Tylenol #3s!!! She said.."Oh by the way our Lortabs are a little different." I informed the guy they were NOT lortabs. Be very careful on narcotics...they are probably fakes. But the antibiotics, Celebrex, Valtrex, ******, etc are probably real..just made in different countries.

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