#WeAreNotWaiting to reduce the financial burden of Type 1.
It’s cheaper, it’s legal, and it’s easy to buy insulin across US borders.
We will meet at Starbucks on the US side of the border (address of that Starbucks: 4201 Camino De La Plaza #102San Ysidro, CA 92173). Then, we can carpool to the PedWest Pedestrian crossing - walking across will not only take much less time in both directions, but will also ensure we are all responsible for our own crossing and own medicine.
Download the CBP Border Wait Times app to your smartphone and check out the San Ysidro border port if you want to check it out yourself.
You will need:
a cooler to store your insulin
cash or credit card (all pharmacies take cards - just tell your bank/credit institute that you’re traveling to Mexico)
temporary cell service in Mexico - Verizon has Travel Pass and costs $5 per day. Most cell carriers have something similar, or roaming rates for MX
a prescription from your US doctor, potentially needed for customs/border crossing (the pharmacy won’t need/use it).
Once in Tijuana (which is the very large city directly on the other side of the border) we will walk to pharmacies, of which there are many. Roma Farmacia and Farmacia del Ahorro are two that are all over the city and I’ve bought insulin at with no problem before. My Spanish is decent enough to buy insulin (or just show the pharmacist your pump/Dexcom/other supplies! They’re pharmacists! They know what type 1 is and frankly didn’t seem the least bit surprised when this American lady stumbled in asking for “insulina”) but most also speak English perfectly well.
Diabetes is an international language. These good folks know what you need and want to help you get it.
When I have gone before, pharmacists asked a) what type of insulin I needed, b) if I wanted pens or vials, and c) if I wanted needles as well. Then they got it out of their refrigerators and sold it to me for a reasonable price (about $13 for a Humalog pen, for the record). Easy breezy beautiful.
Don’t forget we’ll be in the beautiful border city of Tijuana, so tacos will abound. A stop for lunch/celebratory cervezas is most certainly on the agenda.
IMPORTANT: I am not responsible for what happens at Customs and Border Control crossing back into the US. I am happy to share my experience as well as best practices. What I will say is that I’ve done this before and clearly I’m doing it again.