Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Instances by way of Getty Photos
Mexican pharmacies that cater to U.S. vacationers are promoting medicines that seem protected however are continuously laced with lethal fentanyl and methamphetamine.
That is the conclusion of new analysis that examined medicines bought legally in 4 cities in northern Mexico the place vacationers from the U.S. usually search low-cost well being care and prescription drugs.
“For tablets offered as oxycodone, we examined 27 and located 10 or 11 of them contained both fentanyl or heroin,” mentioned Chelsea Shover, a researcher on the UCLA College of Drugs.
She mentioned the conduct by retail pharmacies in Mexico places unsuspecting individuals at excessive danger of overdose and loss of life.
“After I see there are fentanyl tablets someplace that appear like [prescription drugs], I do know there must have been individuals who’ve died from that,” Shover mentioned.
Her group additionally discovered medicines offered at Mexican pharmacies laced with methamphetamines.
Whereas these drug shops promote medicines to Mexican shoppers, Shover says their fundamental prospects seem like People.
“Related merchandise can be found at a a lot lower cost in Mexico, so People do journey to economize.”
Two Democratic lawmakers despatched a letter to the U.S. State Division calling for a journey advisory to warn People of the hazard of buying medicines in Mexico.
“We ought to be completely very involved,” mentioned Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), one of many authors of the letter. “We’ve got virtually 12 million People visiting Mexico yearly.”
In line with Trone, pharmacies boosting income with the high-risk follow are positioned in communities the place People journey in search of reduction from high-cost prescription medicines offered within the U.S.
“There’s actually a pharmacy on each nook, they’re in all places down there, as a result of the worth of medicine is cheaper.”
On Saturday, the Los Angeles Instances reported State Division officers apparently knew concerning the hazard posed by Mexican pharmacies as way back as 2019 however didn’t concern a high-profile alert to vacationers.
In line with the newspaper’s investigation, at the very least one U.S. traveler is understood to have overdosed and died after taking medicines bought at a drug retailer in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 2019.
Rep. Trone mentioned if U.S. officers knew about unsafe medicines being offered at authorized retailers in Mexico, they need to have warned vacationers sooner.
“We have heard nothing again [from the State Department] and it’s totally irritating,” he added.
The State Division despatched an announcement to NPR saying it would not touch upon the letter from lawmakers.
On background, an official pointed to an advisory included within the State Division’s customary on-line details about Mexico that urges vacationers to “train warning when buying medicines abroad.”
“Counterfeit medicine is widespread and should show to be ineffective, the flawed energy, or comprise harmful substances,” the advisory reads.
There is not any reference, nevertheless, to the precise dangers of harmful medication laced with fentanyl offered at authorized pharmacies.
Throughout a press briefing Monday, spokesman Ned Value mentioned American officers continuously replace security advisories issued for Mexico.
“We’re all the time taking a look at data to find out whether or not it’s needed to maneuver our journey warnings in a single course or one other,” he mentioned.
Earlier this month, 4 People have been kidnapped by gunmen whereas touring to Mexico to hunt low-cost medical care. Two of them have been killed.
That case had already raised considerations concerning the security of medical tourism within the nation.