By Amanda Duran
EL PASO – The aroma of fresh churros, the clamor of vendors and blaring radio stations and tables of bric-a-brac are the usual stuff of a border city flea market.
But between the bootleg DVD’s and fake designer handbags at the Bronco Swap Meet here customers unable to afford drug-store prices can also find cheap prescription drugs brought from Mexico.
Vivian, who asked Borderzine not use her surname, is a single mother of four who has used the Bronco Swap Meet at 8408 Alameda Avenue for years to fulfill some of her family’s medicinal needs. After a close friend told her about the availability of prescription antibiotics at Bronco, Vivian said she found that she could buy medicines at a reasonable cost at that relatively convenient location.
“I have insurance from my work,” said Vivian, “but even with it, medical expenses are extreme and would significantly cut into my tight budget.”
Vivian said that at first she was very hesitant about purchasing antibiotics at the swap meet, let alone use them, but, when one of her daughters became painfully ill and she found herself in financial difficulty, she relented.
“My friend who told me about the place had used [the swap meet’s] products many times and said they had worked just as well as the ones from an American pharmacy,” Vivian said. That reassurance plus having attained an official diagnosis and prescription from a U.S. physician left Vivian confident enough to try the illicit medication. She bought it and administered it to her daughter who was soon feeling well.
That incident was a few years ago and since then Vivian has relied on the Bronco for her antibiotics. She agreed to let a Borderzine reporter accompany her on a recent trip to the swap meet to purchase antibiotics.
“I know the Bronco doesn’t sound like the safest place to buy medicine, but it’s been a lifesaver,” Vivian said, “and I want to make sure people know that I’m not just guessing on what to give my kids. I do use my insurance to take them to our family practitioner and then bring his prescription along to the swap to use kind of like a shopping list.”
On that day’s shopping list – 100 milligram-strength Ampicillin for her third child.
Vivian and the reporter arrived at the Bronco Swap Meet on Alameda at around 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. The place was buzzing with activity, but they were still early enough to find parking in the small lot…