TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA.- Officials from Washington, D.C. have begun calling for action after an “alarming” Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that some pharmacies in Mexico are selling counterfeit medication laced with powerful narcotics including fentanyl and methamphetamine.
Some lawmakers in the U.S. urged federal agencies to investigate, while others advocated pressuring Mexican authorities or considering new legislation. In Mexico, a federal prosecutor said her office plans to investigate the findings, which she described as “a new modus operandi” that raises concerning questions, including whether pharmacies are knowingly breaking the law.
The Los Angeles Times first detailed the phenomenon earlier this month, after reporters traveled to three cities in northwestern Mexico and tested 17 pills purchased over the counter from pharmacies. Twelve tested positive for fentanyl or methamphetamine.
The findings echoed those published in a recent UCLA study that examined 45 pills purchased at pharmacies in the same region. Drug market experts said the likely sources are cartels looking to expand their customer base with a cheap and easy-to-make drug: fentanyl.
Although fentanyl has been appearing for years in pills and powders bought on the street, its presence in medications offered at legitimate pharmacies catering to tourists could signal a dangerous new shift in the fentanyl crisis.
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called the Times’ reporting “alarming” and called for a swift federal response.
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Source: Los Angeles Times