Mind-Body-Soul: A Holiday Trip to Mexican Pharmacies

| January 25, 2015

fly fishing health healthy fly fisher

fly fishers body mind soul

NOTE – As we embark on this new column about the Mind, Body & Soul of a fly fisher, I think you’ll find the usual lack of order to the topics within the broader topics. Today’s BODY column is about, of all things prescription medications, and a recent border crossing into Mexico.  You just gotta’ love all of Texas (and parts of Mexico).

INTRODUCTION – Did you know there’s a place where you can buy your prescription meds, and they’ll throw in a free Margarita? Neither did I, until I was in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Progreso a couple of days after Christmas. I think tt could’ve been a great drink if it had anything but tequila in it.

MIRACLE DRUGS

When it comes to maintaining a fly fisher’s body, mind and soul; sometimes it’s easier than others. I mean, what would you say if I told you your drug prescriptions in Mexico come with a margarita? Not bad, right?

Crossing over the bridge at Nuevo Progreso, I recognized everything as if I was just there yesterday. Nothing much changes when it comes to Mexican-American infrastructure it seems. We had just delivered my 95-year-old Grandma back to her home in Weslaco, and made it across just before the sun set.

No matter what, the body of a fly fisher takes more of a beating than the body of a golfer. Golfing, as a relatively fair sport comparison, hardly takes a toll in lives-per-year compared to fly fishing. We’ve been known to fall, hit our heads and drown. Sport fishermen are lost at sea, stung, stabbed by stingrays, bitten by fish, cut, bruised and scraped.

I’ve seen my share of minor injuries, and I have had a few too. I’ve been tossed to the bottom of a few boats, fallen on a few boulders, and backpacked out a few deep blisters. Not exactly a record requiring a 911 call, but my preparations for destinations always include preparation for medical maladies.

So it’s no wonder I was a bit curious about the prescription medications intended to relieve pain and relax muscles, drugs my golfing Dad classified as “wonder drugs” that keep him playing a few times a week, at 76-years-old. What we found was Caridoxen.

But what I really found was a dose of the reality of the absurdity of drug pricing in the United States. Keep in mind these are the same prescription drugs, selling under the same names, we use in the USA. And the market in the Mexican border towns is huge, fueled by winter visitors, obviously of a more aged demographic, who cross over (business is back and it’s good despite past border violence) by the thousands to purchase drugs for themselves, their families and friends back home – wherever home is.

What the flood of gringos find is drugs at 50-90% less than USA prices. The more “recreational” prescriptions like Viagra™ are hot sellers, and I am guessing a number one seller (remember the demographics). However, we even picked up an acne medication (selling in the USA at $40. for 30 pills) for $8.dollars for 100 pills. That’s just one example.

Don’t let me mislead you; this legal drug trade has been going on for decades, and there’s no tax on bringing them back across, and only a few limitations. All the people working the pharmacies speak english, and if you visit a pharmacy that happens to be inside a “mall” with other stores, you can also get a little something extra.

As we were checking out, my Dad obviously established a long relationship with the pharmacia, and everyone working there. He asked the guy behind the register for “dos” and the guy flashed two fingers over across the way to an open restaurant (think indoor cafe), and by the time we walked out the glass doors into the commons area, the blender was running. Poured up in clear plastic cups, we exchanged a few words with the bartender, and walked out onto the Progreso streets.

As we made our way back to the car, the streets were thinning out. The older winter visitors were gone, as if their curfew was up. The next crowd, much younger, was taking over the streets. No shoe shines, and no street vendors; their money crowd was gone, and the younger audience wasn’t interested in what they were selling.

END NOTE – I am known as pretty firmly anti drug when it comes to aspirin, or anything else – even antacid pills and such. However, if I found myself on a long trip, and in pain from paddling a kayak, a fall, or other strenuous activities, I certainly would take, and have taken, a Caridoxen to keep going.

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Eating and Drinking, Life Observed, Writing

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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