U.S. Shoppers Buying Up Retin-A Acne Cream In Border Town
MATAMOROS, Mexico (AP) _ Hundreds of Americans seeking a cure for wrinkled skin have bought out supplies of a prescription acne cream that is available in this border city without a prescription for a fraction of the U.S. price, drug store operators say.
Buyers descended on Matamoros following reports that Retin-A cream can help restore wrinkled, sun-damaged skin, clearing the shelves and prompting pharmacies to order more.
″We have been out of stock of Retin-A since Sunday,″ said a clerk at Calderoni Pharmacy in Matamoros, ″but we hope to get more sometime before the weekend.″
A 10-gram tube available over the counter was going for about $1.20 when the acne medication sold out.
The prescription drug sells for $12 to $15 for a 15-gram tube in the United States.
The clerk, who declined to give her name, said most recent buyers of the cream are elderly U.S. tourists, known locally as winter Texans. Previously, she said, Retin-A buyers were parents purchasing the cream for their teen-age sons and daughters.
Ramon Esquivel, a clerk at the Farmacia Jardin, said the Matamoros store also has been sold out of the cream since Sunday, but he hoped to have a new supply by the weekend.
″Some of them come in asking for the pomade, some of whom called it the wonder cream,″ he said.
A U.S. Customs inspector at Brownsville’s Gateway International Bridge, however, said not everyone will be able to bring the cream into the United States.
″If a prescription is required here and someone brings it across, we will require a prescription, too,″ Fred Drew, a Customs inspector, told The Brownsville Herald. ″If someone brings it over and does not declare it, we will seize it.″
University of Michigan researchers reported last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the cream repaired sun-damaged skin in 30 patients who used it daily for four months.
Some doctors have since cautioned that the drug should not be considered an instant fountain of youth.