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Bogus Medications: A Growth Industry in Mexico

El Jefazo - The Fulano Forum
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July 31, 2015
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Americans flocking to Mexico for cheaper drugs (KBMT)

In one operation last January, Mexican authorities confiscated 30 tons of falsified medications. And that's just what they were able to find in four states and the Federal District. The fake meds range from Viagra to expensive vaccines needed to save the lives of newborns. And the problem is getting worse.

The flood of pirated and counterfeit goods that seem to be an inevitable part of life in Mexico also includes health products. An estimated 7 percent of medications consumed in Mexico are 'irregular' — meaning they're either manufactured with sub-standard practices, expired, stolen or simply falsified.

As with any other industry, the pirate underground in medications causes economic pain, generating losses of $150 million dollars per year, according to health officials. But it also presents a serious health risk to consumers, who may unknowingly not be getting the medications they need, exposing themselves to impurities or ingesting the wrong ingredients.

And like a lot of problems the nation confronts, this one seems to be getting worse. According to the National Pharmaceutical Industry Chamber, the illegal medication business in the country grew by 32 percent in 2010 alone, and is now worth more than 11.5 billion pesos. Thefts of trucks carrying pharmaceutical products have increased by 40 percent in recent years.

According to Cofepris head Mikel Arriola, the thefts in the illegal health market have quadrupled so far during the Peña Nieto administration.

Much of that pirated merchandize is smuggled into the country. “There are organized crime networks that use the southern border to smuggle in illegal medications from South America,” said Juvenal Becerra, president of Unefarm, a pharmacy industry association representing some 5,600 stores.

The sheer volume of the illegal medications circulating in the country can be startling. For example, between 2011 and 2014, Cofepris, the Health Secretariat’s health risk protection service, decommissioned some 300 tons of illegal medications, almost half of them guilty of sub-standard manufacturing.

Read the rest at The Fulano Forum

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