California Residents Cross Border to Get Medications at a Lower Price

Pharmacies in Avenida Revolución and Andador Turístico, are one of the few businesses open in the area

For a couple of years, pharmacies have become a tourist attraction on Tijuana's Avenida Revolución, as some residents from California cross exclusively to buy medication.

Drug prices in Tijuana are more affordable than in the U.S. In times of crisis generated by the pandemic, these types of businesses are the ones that remain afloat in the worst economic crisis that the tourist traders on Avenida Revolución have experienced.

Alejandro Vargas, a resident of the U.S., crosses the border just to get the medication he needs.

"We just came to get the medication, and we're going back. These are things that we have to do, and we have no choice but to come," Vargas said.

He claims that prices are up to 50% cheaper than in the U.S.

Just like Vargas, residents on the U.S. side are the main engine for the numbered commercial establishments that still operate on the iconic avenue in Tijuana.

Julian Palombo, president of Tour Traders or Comerciantes Turísticos in Spanish, says 70% of the clientele are from the U.S. 

"Because medical services here in Tijuana are of quality and are cheaper, this is why people come here," Palombo told Telemundo 20.

In this golden area of tourism, now what stands out is this type of businesses-- pharmacies-- where they have the most in-demand products in this pandemic.

Items like alcohol, antibacterial gel, gloves, face coverings, vitamins, especially those to strengthen the immune system, are in high demand.

But there are specific products such as vitamin C and Isodine that are hardly found, and Tijuana pharmacists buy them at a higher price on the market.

"There are times that we do not get it (Isodine) with our suppliers or the Interior of the Republic, nor locals," Palombo said.

Although their sales have plummeted by 85% compared to the beginning of 2020, they continue to operate and give a little life to the Avenida Revolución.

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