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We wanted to determine if it was possible to obtain antibiotics without a prescription and how people do it.

In the United States, there are 4 ways to obtain antibiotics without a prescription: buy them in a pet store, drive down to Mexico, buy them in an ethnic market/convenience store or buy them on the internet.

Pet Store

Any pharmacist will tell you:
(A) Fish diseases are treated with human antibiotics.
(B) You don’t need a prescription to purchase antibiotics for fish.

We visited 6 pet stores in the New York City Area — 2 national chains, a regional chain and 3 independently owned pet shops.

Both national chain pet stores we visited had antibiotics for sale. Most of the formulations were available as liquid gel drops or powders that are difficult for people to take. However we were able to obtain tablets of triple sulfa (a cocktail of 3 broad spectrum sulfa antibiotics) and tetracycline tablets on the websites of these chains.

The regional chain pet store and all three mom and pop pet stores sold tetracycline, erythromycin and ampicillin in tablet and capsule form.

On the internet, it was easy to find amoxicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline, cephalexin, metronidazole and erythromycin for sale without a prescription by searching Google for the term «fish antibiotics».

It is a bad idea for people to take veterinary medicines but chemically the drugs are the same as what you find in a human pharmacy.

According to anecdotal reports the fact that one can obtain antibiotics in this manner is common knowledge among branches of the armed forces.


Importing non-prescription antibiotics over the internet into the United States is a low priority for the authorities compared to narcotics and controlled substances. When was the last time you read about someone being arrested for importing Cipro or Augmentin into the USA?

Here’s how it works: As long as the pharmacy is located in a country that does not require a doctor’s prescription for a drug, they are happy to sell you whatever you need (other than controlled substances) without a prescription. You are breaking the law, but the authorities are not able to keep up with every single package entering the United States from overseas.


Many ethnic grocery/convenience stores such as bodegas (small grocery/convenience stores found in Latino neighborhoods), sell antibiotics.

Since I live in New York City, we conducted our experiment in Washington Heights, a vibrant immigrant community with a large native Spanish speaking ex-pat population.

Our undercover investigator went into several bodegas and explained that she had a sore throat and needed antibiotics. Two out of seven stores had antibiotics for sale.

One store had «Gimalxina», a brand name for amoxicillin. She bought 20 capsules for $10.00. Another store had generic ampicillin and tetracycline for $0.60 per pill. They also had other medicines for sale (such as diuretics and birth control pills but that’s another story).

People who buy medicine from ethnic markets are typically poor and originate from cultures where buying antibiotics over-the-counter is the norm.

A 2002 NY Times article indicated that Chinese and Russian immigrants easily purchase antibiotics and other prescription drugs in small markets.


Selling prescription medicines to Americans is a huge industry in Mexico. The main shopping streets in border towns such as Tijuana and Nagales are lined with pharmacies.

We took a bus from downtown San Diego across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. There, we were able to buy 14 tablets of brand-name Cipro 500 mg (ciprofloxacin) for $35.00 US. 96 capsules of Amoxicillin 500mg went for $18.95. Levaquin was harder to find but we were able to buy 15 tablets of the generic for about $25.00.

South of the border you can walk into any drugstore and buy antibiotics over-the-counter. It’s just like buying Tylenol or Advil. No prescriptions are needed and nobody asks any questions. So, if you live within driving distance of the Mexican border (like in San Diego, or El Paso) this is a piece of cake.

  • Опубликовано 17. апреля 2018
  • Автор: admin
  • Категории: Uncategorized
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