Most expats at Lake Chapala take medications, either for a chronic condition or for eating something laced with nasty bacterias or amoebas. Whereas many doctors north of the border prescribe brand name medications, the ones here usually prescribe the ingredient name (if it is a single ingredient medication). That is because of the preponderance of generic medications here, due in part to their availability on the black market.
In general, it’s difficult to know the efficacy of generic medications since they’re manufactured around in world, conceivably in countries without strict quality regulations and oversight. It’s possible that some of the medications are not full strength. But, it’s also probable that the manufacturers wish to stay in business, and therefore to do what it takes to provide a decent product.
Most boxes containing generic medication in our survey show that they were made in Mexico, but that may only mean that the ingredients were packed into capsules here. It’s difficult to know. In any case, unless the medication is being used for a life or death condition (or unless the doctor is adamant in prescribing only the brand name), many people are willing to try a generic alternative.
We took a survey of prices this week at various local pharmacies to see where the best deals are, trying to match the same medication strengths and dosages across the board.
- We chose to compare the prices of five frequently-prescribed medications.
- Although we went to Jessica’s Farmacia on the Parroquia at Ajijic Plaza, we have not included its prices here because it only stocks brand names.
- We have not taken into account any discounts to be granted by the use of seniors’ INAPAM or DIF cards. That is because they generally only apply toward brand names. Even with such a discount, the prices are still higher than generics.
The results of our survey show that Cristina’s Farmacia at Plaza Bugambilias seems to consistently have the lowest listed prices. But, then, when we went to Farmex Farmacia next to Maskaras Clinic, we were surprised to learn that it will beat any price of its competitors. It also takes3 DIF and INAPAM discounts on generics, and it is run by a US-licensed pharmacist. That’s an unbeatable combination. It gets our vote.