How Mexican pharmacies work

How Mexican Pharmacies work?

How Mexican pharmacies work

If you are in Mexico or you are planning to spend some time here, it is important to know how Mexican Pharmacies work. There are Pharmacies almost in every corner, so it will not be difficult to find one.

Before coming to Mexico and if you are taking some medication, we recommend you to research the name in Spanish, go on the internet and check how that medication is sold in Mexico and under what name.

Remember that most of the services in a Pharmacy will be available in Spanish only, so I recommend that you take some Spanish classes, perhaps online, so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

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How do I get a medical prescription from Mexico?

Most of the medications are available without a written prescription from a doctor.

If you are taking antibiotics it is compulsory to have a prescription from a doctor, if you do not have a prescription we recommend you to take a medical consultation, most of the pharmacies have a doctor’s office next door.

For around $3 USD you can have a doctor check up ( temperature, blood pressure, vital signs).

If you are not feeling well while you are traveling in Mexico we recommend having a check up, it is very cheap and it will make your stay more comfortable.

Instructions for taking medication are written in Spanish, if you do not read Spanish be careful with taking the right dose. In some pharmacies the doctor speaks a little bit of English, it is better if you ask the doctor for the explanation in English.

If a doctor prescribes a medication, it is always wise to ask the doctor about what the medication is, why it is being prescribed, what it is supposed to do, and what are the side-effects.

When you are buying medicines in a pharmacy they will ask you if you want “generico o de patente”. Basically what they are saying is if you want patented medicine (brand name medicine) or generic medicine.

The most famous mexican pharmacies

How Mexican pharmacies work

Farmacias Similares

This pharmacy is known for generics. 92% of medicines sold in Mexico are generic. Generics are made to work the same way as brand-name drugs. They have the same active ingredient and are the same as brand-name medications. 

If you want to save some money you can buy generic medicine here or in other Farmacias.

Farmacias del Ahorro

Normally this Pharmacy is big, you can find generics and non generic medicine. This Pharmacy is self service. Also has a doctor’s office next door.

Farmacia San Pablo

It has a variety of products, also is self service, and has a doctor’s office next door.

How Mexican pharmacies work


In short

  • Learn the chemical name of the medicine 
  • Look up for the name in Spanish 
  • Look up for the distribution in Mexico
  • If you need a prescription, take a consultation at the Pharmacy. 
  • Learn basic phrases in Spanish

Useful vocabulary for buying medicine

  • ¿Tiene (name of the medicine)?
  • ¿Qué precio tiene? What’s the price?
  • Quiero (name of the medicine)
  • Quiero (name of the medicine) de patente 
  • Genérico- Generics 
You might be interested on learning more about medical vocabulary in Spanish as well and probably learn Spanish in Mexico, so don’t hesitate and join a Spanish course in Mexico where you will improve your Spanish skills with our Spanish teacher, and from then you will be able to navigate easily all kinds of situations in a Spanish speaking country. 

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