Health Watch--Cipro

Normally the shoppers who go to Mexican border towns go there to buy things like belts and pinatas. These days, however, they are looking for something else.

Monica Garza of McAllen is shopping for Cipro...Ciprofloxacin, the oral drug often prescribed for anthrax after the disease is diagnosed. At a pharmacy in Nuevo Progresso, she found it.

"It might not be what we need right now, but it's better to be safe than sorry," Garza says.

Pharmacies on the other side of the border have been popular because you don't need a prescription and the medicines are cheaper. But now, for a lot of customers, the issue isn't convenience but survival. Most pharmacies in Mexico have stocked both Cipro and another cheaper antibiotic, Doxycycline, also used to treat anthrax.

Pharmacist Jose Reyna says Americans are buying lots of both...sometimes as many as 20 boxes. Tourist Jeff Miller says he is not so sure whether that's a good idea or if it is in the national interest.

"We're all in this country together. I'm a fighting man, four out of my seven brothers and sisters were in the military. And I think it'll be available if it's necessary," Miller says.

But for those who do not believe in the system, in these times, the border has a new attraction.