Everybody says that medicines and drugs purchased in
Costa Rica are significantly less expensive than those purchased in the
U.S. or Canada. Well let me state quite emphatically, that is
NOT always the case.
Since moving to the beach, our dog Úpe has developed a
severe skin rash that causes her to scratch continually for hours at a
time. Her scratching turn into infected sores just makes her life
miserable and must be treated with antibiotics.
Our veterinarian has determined that Úpe is suffering
from Canine Atopy, a form of chronic seasonal allergy and
prescribed a medication called Loratadina (generic name
Loratadine). The vet told us that Úpe will probably need to
take this medicine for the rest of her life.
After leaving the vet's office, we went to the local
Farmácia where we bought a one month supply, 90 pills. Loratadina
comes in blister packs, 30 (10mg pills) per box and we needed 3 boxes at
a cost of ₡55.000 per month. At today's
exchange rate that is going to set us back $110 each month!
So I jumped on the Internet and lo and behold, Loratadine
is also know as Claritin. Who da thunk! I can now buy the
generic equivalent here in Costa Rica for around $80 a month.
Okay, this is not quite what I was expecting by way of savings so I kept
I found that original OTC Claritin can be purchased
online through Walmart.com for only $7.42 for 60 pills. That was a
huge savings. But as I looked a little further I struck gold.
Amazon.com sells a box of 360 pills for only $12.12. That's a
LOCAL FARMACIA - $1.20 PER
$110 PER MONTH
WALMART.COM - $0.12 PER PILL
$10.80 PER MONTH
AMAZON.COM - $0.03 PER PILL
Buying Medications From Outside
So what good does it do knowing you can save a boat
load of money by buying your meds online. You now have to get
the meds here. It's not that simple.
You can't legally ship medications into Costa
Rica without it going through Customs (Aduana). Once
Aduana gets their hands on it, you will be required to pay a
hefty duty as well as produce a mountain of paperwork before the
meds are finally sent to you.
Many drug companies or resellers (like Amazon)
will not ship to a foreign address.
Even if you ship your meds to a mail forwarding
service, your package will still have to make the trip through
Aduana before they are sent to you
This is where your mule network really shines.
By ordering your medications online, ship the product to a friend or
relative who will be visiting Costa Rica. Bringing in product
like this is perfectly legal provides it is being used for personal
We are using this method for not just this particular
med but OTC drugs like Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, Contact, and Benadryl.
We are also getting Vitamins and other pet products like specialty
shampoos and K9-Advantix Flea & Tick drops. The process you
pay in the U.S. are a fraction of what we pay here in Costa Rica.
I'm can't say this applies to all medications but it
does warrant you spending a little time checking out alternative
prices and methods of delivery.