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Old April 2nd, 2002, 10:37 PM
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Default Importing medications (not for recreational use)

Me and my fiance are taking a cruise in September from the Miami FL port. I am on Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and Acedaminaphin #3 (Tylonal 3) for chronic pain. I have heard that we can get medications cheaper in Mexico and wanted to fill up on my medications while I was there. I've researched the government customs site and read all their rules about importing but I'm still a little confused. The goverment customs site states:

"If a U.S. resident wants to bring in a controlled substance other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroine, or LSD, but does not have a prescription for the substance issued by a U.S.-licensed practitioner (e.g., physician, dentist, etc.) registered with and authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to prescribe the mediation, the individual may not import more than 50 dosage units of the medication. if the U.S. resident has a prescription for the controlled substance issued by a DEA registrant, more than 50 dosage units may be imported by that person, provided all other legal requirements are met."

Basically, I want to know what "prescription" means. Will it be enough to bring the current prescription bottle I have for those two medications or will I actually need to get my doctor to write me another prescription? I don't know if he will write me a prescription if I still have plenty left. If I have my last prescription bottle, does that mean I can purchase as much as I want regardless of the quantity listed on the actual bottle? And does it matter how old the prescription is? The reason I ask is because I don't use the Tylonol 3 as much as the Vicodin so my prescription date is older (almost a year).
If I can import as much as I want, how do I go about going through customs? Do I need to immediately take it out and show it to them and explain? Should I carry all that I have in my purse or can I put the extra's I've bought in my luggage.
I hope someone can answer this question. I've tried searching for an email for customs or the FDA and can't find one.
If anybody out there knows anything about this, please let me know every detail of how I go about this so I can be thoroughly prepared.

Thanks
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 3rd, 2002, 02:52 AM
Rix Rix is offline
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Default Re: Importing medications (not for recreational use)

To address your first point, the customs site speaks about the current NAFTA arrangement. The arrangement is that anyone traveling between North America, Canada, US and Mexico can import controlled substances with prescriptions from the country of origin, as long as they are not the ones listed above. The second point of the requirement is that they will not allow more than 50 dosages, or pills, for each prescription.

As far as bringing prescriptions with you on vacation, do not hesitate to bring them along if the detail on the medication shows who your doctor is and shows that the expiration is within term (if not, it is most likely an illegal prescription and leave it at home).

If you want to bring controlled substances from Mexico or another NAFTA country, you need a prescription. What it means is exactly the same as in the US – go the Doctor and get a prescription. What it entails is very different, however; ask the cab driver to take you to the pharmacy and that person will tell you where the doctor is. The doctor will write a prescription for a fee, typically US $10 to $20, after you tell them exactly what the prescription is. The pharmacy will then fill it, for amounts about 20% less than retail. Please keep in mind that refills will not be honored in the US and please keep in mind that they are sub-par “prescriptions”.

I used to take prescription Vicodin because I broke my back (compression fracture T3/T4) and thought I had no way out. Since I lived in San Francisco at the time and didn’t have an HMO, I used to buy it in Mexico and take it home for the cost savings. I was stopped a couple of times crossing the border or at the airport through customs, but I always produced the prescription and there was no problem – or no problemo.

I don’t take medications any longer because of a great psychiatrist I had met in Northern Cal.– there are ways to manage the pain. I LIVE WITH IT EVERY DAY and I do just fine now! Anyway, I responded to you because I thought you seemed a little stressed and I remembered when I really needed them (and I still think from time to time, but I am down to about 3 days per year). Please E-Mail me for any questions.

I hope this helps. This was from my heart and hard to write.

Richard, aka “Rix”
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: Re: Importing medications (not for recreational use)

Very good Rix
Rick..
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Importing medications (not for recreational use)

This is a dicey question.

My mother is a "senior" and takes lots of $$$ prescription meds that are not covered by Medicare or any prescription plan. I just buy 'em in Mexico, throw 'em in a suitcase and keep on going.

Because Vicodin is a narcotic, it may be difficult to buy in Mexico without the help of a local physician.

I've been a "drug runner" for fifteen or twenty years now and never had a minute's worth of problems.

You might want to look on the Internet for Candadian companies that will sell you Rx at a much lower rate than in the US.
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Old April 4th, 2002, 07:46 PM
HannaS77
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Default Re: Importing medications (not for recreational use)

I suggest using keyword you download U.S. Customs Traveler Information. The Custom service covers brining in medication and will give keywords for other sites that you might refer to.

Congress has passed legislation that I believe permits you to bring in a 6 month supply of prescription medication from Canada or Mexico so the information availablke may not be current???? I yse question marks because I ccould be mistaken.

In Mexico the druggist will not sell you narcotic type drugs(such as valium) without a local doctor prescription but this can be a joke to make another $10-15. While we have had no experience with drugs puchased in Mexico some doctors have been circulating that when the drug companies have to get their medication back beause the time for taking the medicine has expired, they are shipping it to Mexico for re-packag ing and sale in the local pharmarcies. I cannot confirm this. One problem with Mexican medication is that while they are listed as being from the U.S. drug manufacturers, the instructions are in Spanish.

Not all medication in Mexico is cheaper in than in the U.S. Only that medicine used by their nationalized medical system is price controlled is usually cheaper. For example Lipitor has been cheaper in the United States than in Mexico.. Medication may not come in the same dosages or numbers in a carton that you are seeking.

Know whgat you are paying in the US, get a price that will be in pesos. As of today Wednesday of this week the $1.00 was woth about 9 pesos or multiply the quoted perso by.1107. If you are quoted 500 pesos the equivalent price in US dollars should be about $55.35. The better pharmarcies (farmacia)accept credit cards.
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Old April 5th, 2002, 02:25 PM
HannaS77
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Default Re: Importing medications (not for recreational use)

I have to retract my earlier posting since I have received information that the legislation
permitting U.S. residence to bring in prescription medicine from Canada or Mexico is not correct. When I wrote the posting I was influenced by all the publicty that has been dispensed on the subject matters, I tried to find the Bill on the WEB without success so I called my Congresswoman. I was informed that the House has passed the bill but it has not been considered by the Senate and there seems to be little chance the Bill will pass due to heavy lobbying by the drug industry.

I am sure it is not news that daily hundreds if not thousands cross the border in California, Arizona and Texas to purchase medication. The same holds true for those states that border Canada. I have heard of only one incident where the Custom Service has stopped and confiscated drugs and that concerned a women who tried to smuggle in 10,000 estsay pills. My wife and I have used drugs purchased from a reputable pharmarcy in Mexico for years with no adverse reaction and the medication seems to be working based on the periodic blood tests we take.

Since they do not sell all the medicines we take we have used a canadian pharmarcy via the internet.

You may be interested in the following from the Custom Service:

" Narcotics and dangerous drugs, including anabolic steroids, are prohibited; severe penalties will ensue if they are imported. A traveler requiring medicine containing habit forming drugs or nrcotics(e.g. cough medicines,diuretics, heart medications, tranquilizers,, sleeping pills, antidepressants, stimulants, etc)should:

Have all drugs, medicinals and similar products properly identified:

Carry only such quality as might normally be carried by an individual having health problems.. Have a prescription or written statement from your physician that the medications are being used under a doctor's direction and that they are necessary for your physical well-being while traveling.

It is illegal to bring into the U.S. any medicatyion that has not been approved by the FDA. Unfortunately they do not go into bringing in drugs. For that you may want to download :
http://www. custom.ustreas.gov

HannaS77
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old April 8th, 2002, 01:12 AM
txscottyh
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Default Re: Importing medications (not for recreational use)

www.noprescriptioneeded.com .......Good Luck! ; )
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