Congressional lawmakers are calling on the Point out Division to concern a travel advisory warning People that some Mexican pharmacies are passing off counterfeit supplements made of fentanyl and methamphetamine as reputable prescribed drugs.
U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) sent a letter Friday to Secretary of Point out Antony J. Blinken urging the division to quickly “warn Us citizens touring to Mexico of the risk they confront when acquiring tablets from Mexican pharmacies.”
In detailing the will need for these kinds of a superior-profile warning, the letter regularly cited an investigation by the Los Angeles Instances as well as a analyze by UCLA scientists — both equally of which uncovered unsafe counterfeit supplements getting bought in excess of the counter at pharmacies in northwestern Mexico.
“U.S. travellers who unwittingly purchase counterfeit drugs from Mexican pharmacies — the two with and with no a prescription, in accordance to the Los Angeles Situations — encounter lethal risks from remedies that have properly been poisoned,” the letter said.
A Point out Deptartment spokesperson reported in an e mail that the company does “not remark on Congressional correspondences.” The department did not solution queries about the letter or no matter whether it plans to issue a travel advisory.
Markey and Trone sent their letter one working day in advance of the Instances published a new investigation detailing the remaining hrs in the daily life of Brennan Harrell, a 29-yr-previous California male who overdosed and died in 2019 just after consuming fentanyl-tainted pills obtained at a pharmacy in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Harrell’s dad and mom have fought unsuccessfully for additional than 3 years for the State Department to concern a prominently placed warning about the hazards of Mexican pharmacies.
The pitfalls of touring to Mexico for its booming “medical tourism” field came into sharp relief previous week just after four People in america were kidnapped in Matamoros, a cartel-plagued Mexican border town. Officials later on explained the vacationers may have been victims of mistaken id just after the attackers considered their van was transporting rival gangsters.
The incident sparked intercontinental tensions, as Republican lawmakers in the U.S. prompt sending troops throughout the border, when the president of Mexico blamed the violence on America’s hunger for unlawful medication.
“We are incredibly sorry for what is occurring in the United States, but why do not they attend to the issue?” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned last week. “Here we do not make fentanyl, and we do not eat fentanyl,” he mentioned, even with distinct proof to the opposite.
The Gulf cartel has given that condemned the violence, but not right until following two of the kidnapped American vacationers were being killed. 1 of the two survivors — who have equally returned to the U.S. given that the harrowing ordeal — was in Mexico for a tummy tuck, one particular of the just about 1 million U.S. citizens who request professional medical techniques in the country every single calendar year.
The significant price tag of prescription medicines in the U.S. has driven a valuable Mexican pharmaceutical sector that has seen some pharmacies providing harmful, pretend remedies to oblivious website visitors, as The Occasions documented previous thirty day period.
“These adulterated medications put unsuspecting U.S. vacationer customers — some of whom are trying to find to steer clear of substantial pharmaceutical drug pricing in the United States — at possibility of overdose and dying,” Markey and Trone wrote to Blinken. Markey was a member of the U.S. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, and Trone was its co-chair.
“The Los Angeles Times investigation located that 71% of the products their investigators bought from Mexican pharmacies have been contaminated with effective drugs these kinds of as fentanyl and methamphetamine.”
Travel advisories are general public warnings issued by the State Department to tell Us residents traveling abroad about pitfalls they could face when going to specific nations or destinations. It is vital that a single be issued about Mexican pharmacies offering pretend, tainted supplements “as an instant move,” Markey and Trone wrote in their joint letter.
“The Point out Office, via the journey advisories it difficulties, plays an crucial role in protecting the overall health and security of People traveling abroad,” the letter mentioned.
Steffanie Strathdee, a distinguished professor of medication at UC San Diego and co-writer of the UCLA-led review, stated an advisory is not plenty of.
“My look at is it’s a Band-Support,” she reported. “It’s not likely to fix the trouble, while it could aid some persons be more wary — as long as that’s not the only thing that is accomplished.”
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