High cost of prescription drugs driving consumers to flea markets for medicine

HOUSTON – Americans are struggling with medical bills and the cost of necessary medicine. Many don't have health insurance or the luxury to take time off work to see a doctor to get a needed prescription.

It's why some consumers are turning to an unlikely place to get the drugs they think they need.

Where did KPRC Channel 2 find prescription drugs for sale with no prescription needed?

Consumer expert Amy Davis received a tip that people were buying antibiotics from a vendor at the White Elephant Flea Market in Channelview. She sent a photographer inside, wearing a hidden camera.

It didn’t take long to find the booth selling herbs and all types of medicines. The photographer asked the woman behind the counter if she had anything for an ear infection. She offered him 10 tablets of ampicillin (500 milligrams) for $10. He also purchased 20 tablets of amoxicillin (500 milligrams) for a sore throat for $10, 20 tablets of tetracycline for acne for $10 and 2 Viagra tablets for $10 each.

By comparison, we could get 56 tablets of tetracycline at Walmart for $141. It’s $2 cheaper per tablet at the flea market.

Who is allowed to sell or dispense prescription drugs?

According to Chapter 483 of the Texas Health & Safety Code, only licensed pharmacies and doctors are allowed to sell and dispense prescription medication. It is even illegal for an individual to possess a prescription drug without orders from a doctor.


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