Can You Trust the Generic Drugs in Mexico? (VIDEO)

I’m going to try something new today since I am posting this on my blog site. I know that some of my longtime followers prefer to read their content instead of watching videos, so I am going to meld the two options in this post. You can choose to watch the video or read the transcript posted just below it.

Let me know what you think of this format. Thanks.

Video Transcript

Hey everybody. Qroo Paul here. Welcome to the channel. A few years ago when I was a blogger, I wrote an article about how Linda and I save money by going to a popular pharmacy chain in Mexico called farmacias similares on Mondays because everything is 25% off. They have a large line of generic drugs there.

Almost immediately, readers started posting comments with warnings that the products sold by Farmacias Similares were inferior and that the strength of the medications were lower. One reader said that’s why they use the word “similar” or similar in the name. Well, the negative comments prompted me to temporarily pull the article while I investigated the matter further.

After some extensive research, I learned that there was some validity to their concerns — at least prior to 2010. That year, everything changed.

Prior to 2010 there were actually three classifications of drugs: de patente – patent or name brand version; 2) generíco intercambiable – generic but tested to be 100% interchangeable with the name brand version; and 3) similares -drug containing the same ingredients as the patent version but lacking the testing for bioequivalence.

Many of the drugs sold by the pharmaceutical chain Farmacias Similares prior to the change fell into the third category. That’s the primary reason why some people were critical of the quality of their products.

In 2004, there was a significant reform to the health law (Ley General de Salud) requiring all of the medications sold in Mexico to pass rigorous testing for bioequivalence beginning in 2010. In layman’s terms, they were eliminating the third category. This was great news for the consumer and it greatly increased people’s trust in generic medications.

To comply with the new law, Farmacias Similares conducted testing on all of their medications at a cost of between $50,000 – $90,000 USD each. The generic medications that the chain now sells have been tested and approved for quality, dosage and bioequivalence.

The government agency that oversees the medication registry and maintains compliance is the Comisíon Federal para la Protección Contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS). I contacted them directly to confirm all of this information that I am telling you now.

I spoke with a very friendly and helpful representative who confirmed that all of the generic medications sold in Mexico have been thoroughly tested to ensure that they are the equivalent of the name brand version.

She added that it doesn’t matter if I buy the generic made by Farmacias Similares, Farmacias del Ahorro or ay other pharmacy chain, it’s going to be the same in terms of ingredients and effectiveness. She said that the only difference will be in appearance (i.e. color, shape and packaging).

I commend Mexico for creating both the legislation and the governmental infrastructure necessary to ensure that people can trust the generic drugs sold in Mexico. In doing so, they’ve found a way to reduce the cost of health care for their citizens, as well as any expats who call this home.

If you have any additional questions about medications sold in Mexico, you should contact COFEPRIS.

I hope you enjoyed the video, until next time. hasta luego.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

63 Comments on "Can You Trust the Generic Drugs in Mexico? (VIDEO)"

  1. Alicia Estrada | October 3, 2021 at 8:12 am |

    I really love the format. We have a choice to choose what we feel like doing. Great Idea. Love it!

  2. Thank you very much for the transcript version! Sometimes watching the videos in a public place or even while someone else is trying to concentrate on something else without background noise at home just isn’t respectful. This way I can absorb the information quietly.

  3. Carmen M Claypool | October 3, 2021 at 8:16 am |

    Yes to reading

  4. I enjoy both formats depending on when and where I am at the time. Thank you!

  5. Bravo for the print version!

  6. The transcript is a welcome addition. I miss the blog site too!

  7. Thank you both for this very interesting information and the transcript version. I have always wanted to be able to read the text, even though I do love watching and listening to you, sometimes it is just not feasible. Thank you !

  8. Very helpful Paul. Thank you!

  9. Kristen Wagler | October 3, 2021 at 9:18 am |

    Thank you, I love this format and this topic. I’ve always been curious about it.

  10. Candi V Hill | October 3, 2021 at 9:27 am |

    Yes love the new format if it’s not to much trouble. Great job. Thank you so much!

  11. Karen Pelletier | October 3, 2021 at 9:46 am |

    Such great information. Thank you. I love the transcript version. I miss a lot of your posts because I’m not the video type, but I appreciate that I can look up a topic and view on video when needed. Lots of great information in your library! Thanks for all the work you put into your posts.

    • Thanks, Karen. I may get back into blogging at some point. It really comes down to finding enough time in the day to get everything done that I would “like” to do. The videos get a lot more traffic than the blog ever got. I think the most traffic that this blog ever got was around 200K views in a month. Compare that to YouTube — where we are still relatively new — and we had over 413K views last month alone.

  12. I appreciate the written copy, I can quickly and quietly process my emails, thank you for this format. I’m a retired pharmacist and found your research and explanation outstanding! Keep up the good work!

  13. Robert Badgett | October 3, 2021 at 9:49 am |

    I join the crowd on this issue. I like both formats.

  14. Thanks for the “reading” version, much preferred.

  15. Prefer to read. Thanks for the option.

  16. Great , transcription version is huge plus – often I enjoy to read articles which I can do silently compared to the fuss for videos ( earphones etc ) . 😉

  17. I truly appreciate your post, either in video format or written or both combined. The quality, trustworthiness and care of the information you share with us is what is most valuable to me. In other words, if you ever decide to sing, rap or recite your post I will most definitely be watching you. Happy Sunday.

  18. Love both options! Are there medications NOT recommended? I am most interested in insulin and the accompanying needles, testing straps, etc. Thx for all you do!

    • We have not heard of any medications that are recommended to avoid. COFEPRIS occasionally pulls a medication for some health reason but that would be normal for the FDA in the U.S. to do as well.

  19. Victoria Ryan | October 3, 2021 at 10:25 am |

    Great info… prefer reading.

  20. Leigh (Lili) Eastty | October 3, 2021 at 10:30 am |

    1) love the print option. I live with others and read my email in the morning – and not everyone wants to hear other people’s videos. 2) This information is so helpful. We have been having this debate on and off for years – so good to know we can trust the generics here now. The urban legends of the “old days” will live on for a long time I am sure – but getting the facts will let me ignore the horror stories I have sometimes heard (always second or third hand by the way). Gracias!

  21. Thank you for offering the written version. I much prefer to read over watching videos.

  22. Roger Mailhot | October 3, 2021 at 10:38 am |

    I enjoy both formats for the content but prefer reading! Great work!

  23. Very good Paul. Most of the time I prefer reading your posts. Thanks for your informative topics.

  24. Thank you, really prefer reading & very rarely click on videos, so like transcript. Thanjs!

  25. Thanks for the double format — and for your usual stellar research.

  26. Dual format is great, Paul and Linda. Thanks.

  27. Anne DeChelbor | October 3, 2021 at 11:44 am |

    I always look forward to your videos -this one was excellent so thank you for doing all the research on everyone’s behalf. Thank you for doing double format for those that prefer reading! Can’t believe you sold but happy for you and Linda. Can’t wait to read about other areas of Mexico for travel purposes. Thank you!

    • Thanks for watching. It feels strange not to live there anymore but we are excited to see where this new adventure takes us.

  28. Christine Angeles | October 3, 2021 at 11:47 am |

    Love the choice. I’m usually a reader on topics like this but sometimes I will watch the video.

  29. Great, I like have the choice of the video and written version. The written version I can read everywhere without disturb other people as watching a video and can also easy mark by pen important parts. Thank you

  30. I like being able to read as sometimes I have others around and don’t want to disturb them so thanks!!

  31. Sheila Sullivan | October 3, 2021 at 2:38 pm |

    Print version is better for me. I usually read your posts when I am in a public place and can’t watch the videos at the time. Thanks for the choice.

  32. Janet Rivera | October 3, 2021 at 3:13 pm |

    Appreciate the transcript! Your info is always top notch!

  33. Darla G Meyer | October 3, 2021 at 4:30 pm |

    Love the double format. Video was great.

  34. thanks for the information! I like the fact that I can choose formats – I do like to read the blog most of the time. Someone recently told me that Mexico gets a lot of their drugs from China, where there would be very little oversight. What are your thoughts on this? From what you have written, it does not appear that Mexico brings in drugs from China. Ingredients perhaps? Most of what I have purchased in Mexico states ‘hecho Mexico’

  35. Thanks for the choice of a transcript! I don’t always have the time or the privacy to watch a video. Much appreciated!

    • I had a negative experience with a beta blocker sold by Simi – so now I’m back to a more expensive (but still not name) brand that I buy elsewhere. It was especially a problem with half pills – ones I had to cut in half to get half the dosage – so perhaps there’s an issue with the dose specified being fully and equally distributed throughout a single pill (and therefore one shouldn’t cut their pills in half)? Cutting the more expensive pills in half hasn’t caused any problem.

      • I have heard similar issues with some folks who try to cut the pills. The ingredients may not be evenly distributed. That is something for people to consider.

  36. Yes to the transcript!!!! Bravo!

  37. Watched the video but also read the transcript-thanks for offering both.

  38. Paul, great idea to include both the video
    and the transcript, so we have a choice. Depending on circumstances, it may be more convenient to read the transcript. Usually enjoy the videos. Thanks for all of the great info that you and Linda provide.

  39. Paul, the problem with videos is that only the short description gets indexed by search engines. I am frustrated that a lot of good Covid information is buried in half-hour videos and can’t be found in Google. By posting a transcript, you’ve really increased the life-span of your posts.

    As for generics, I hope things here in Mexico are as secure as you make it. I take many government claims with a large dose of salt (e.g., Covid statistics). But I do appreciate your research, especially after the recent NY Times article on the uncertain properties of generics, at least in the US. And I’ve had doctors here prescribe a medication and insist that I get the brand name, not a generic.

    https://nyti.ms/3iqBB5B

    I remain a bit dubious, especially when it involves my or my wife’s health.

  40. The new text format allows a quiet read in public areas. It just doesn’t allow seeing that good-lookin guy who does the video versions 🙂

    I am blown away by the depth of information in your blog casts. The info on pharmaceuticals is an example. You cover many of the issues that a potential expat would need and find interesting. I have not found a more informative or enjoyable source on moving to Mexico. Thanks to you both.

  41. There isn’t a Farmacia Similare within walking distance of where we stay (January, February, March) in Merida, but it might be worth it to Uber over to one on Mondays if we fill a bunch of prescriptions at once! Thanks for the useful info!

  42. Mitch - Texas | October 4, 2021 at 8:39 am |

    I am diabetic and take a high priced drug which cost over $500 for a 30 day supply. The same drug (same name, manufacturer, color, shape and packaging) in Mexico is $200 for 30 days $300 for 90 days. 60% savings on the same name brand. There is no generic of this medicine in the USA or Mexico yet. I can actually fly to Cozumel and spend a few days for the amount I save on a 90 day supply!

    I like the option of print vs. video.

  43. You are a great resource to all who subscribe to whatever format you may use.

    Your Linda is somewhat like me in that I want to do some traveling around, perhaps not as much as her, while still having a homebase.

    You are like my Linda. Just give me a homebase and let me decorate it, work on my hobbies, etc.

    I hope you and Linda have a life filled with much good health and happiness similar to my Linda and I (we’ll be celebrating 50 years of marriage in November).

  44. Love both the topic and the ability to read it!

  45. Danielle Waleri | October 4, 2021 at 3:43 pm |

    I love the videos, but it’s nice to be able to glance through the transcript, especially if you have a website or name of a government agency mentioned, then it’s easy to find it again without having to re-watch the whole video!

  46. Thank you for the choice of reading or watching. I love to read, though my husband enjoys the videos. This way we’re both happy.
    Keep up the fine work. Have been enjoying your insight for several years.

  47. Brian and Debbie Kane | October 4, 2021 at 9:23 pm |

    Good to know! We have been to pharmacies on several trips.

  48. Thumbs up to the transcript version! Thanks Paul!
    Re Similares – While they do not carry everything (ie do not carry the less common dosages of otherwise common meds), I have had very good experience with purchasing, on Mondays if feasible, several maintenance meds. Interesting, the celecoxib (generic) that I purchase from Similares is exactly the same capsule as the Celebrex brand for which I paid a small fortune in the US, and significantly less expensive than the name brand in Mexico farmacias.

  49. Hi Paul. I prefer the printed version version video.
    Thank you for the informative article.

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