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Buying Antibiotics In Mexico Without A Prescription A Thing Of The Past

Audio

Aired 8/25/10

A new law in Mexico means everyone who buys antibiotics south of the border must have a prescription from a Mexican doctor. The new law takes effect today.

A new law in Mexico means everyone who buys antibiotics south of the border must have a prescription from a Mexican doctor. The new law takes effect today.

For years, Americans have crossed the border to Tijuana to buy cheap antibiotics without prescriptions.

Mexican public health officials say up to 60 percent of all the antibiotics Mexican pharmacies sell are to people who self-medicate.

This "auto-prescription" is the impetus for the new law. Mexican officials say, for example, last year's H1N1 flu outbreak was made worse because people took antibiotics to try to get better instead of going to the doctor.

Baja California health officials say pharmacies that sell antibiotics without a doctor's paperwork can be fined more than $74,000. The person buying the drugs will not face penalties.

Officials do not plan to add health inspectors to enforce the new law. That means Baja's 60 inspectors will be responsible for the state's 5000 pharmacies.

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