Senators Urge State Department to Issue Travel Advisory Warning of Mexican Pharmacy Drug Dangers
U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and David Trone (D-Md.) have urged the State Department to immediately issue a travel advisory warning of the dangers of buying pharmaceuticals from Mexican pharmacies. In a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, the lawmakers cited multiple reports revealing that some pharmacies in popular tourist locations in Mexico are selling counterfeit prescription drugs that are laced with illicit drugs.
The letter references a report from the Los Angeles Times about pharmacies in several northwestern cities in Mexico that were selling fentanyl-laced prescription drugs and marketing the pills as “legitimate pharmaceuticals.” The Los Angeles Times conducted an individual inquiry that revealed that 71% of 17 tablets acquired from Mexican pharmacies contained more potent medications. A study from UCLA found that counterfeit pills sold in Mexican pharmacies contained controlled substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl.
The lawmakers are concerned that unsuspecting U.S. tourists, some of whom are seeking to avoid high pharmaceutical drug pricing in the United States, are at risk of overdose and death. They noted that the State Department plays an important role in protecting the health and safety of Americans traveling abroad through the travel advisories it issues. The advisory reads, “Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said last week that Mexico does not produce or consume fentanyl, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Drug overdoses killed more than 107,000 people in the United States in 2021, largely due to fentanyl. The senators expressed their desire to reduce the incentives for Americans to travel abroad because of the availability of cheaper medication there and to reduce the demand for opioids and other drugs that are fueling the U.S. epidemic.
0. “Lawmakers call on State Department to issue travel advisory over Mexican pharmaceuticals” Washington Examiner, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/senate/lawmakers-call-state-department-mexico-travel-advisory-drugs
1. “Lawmakers call for Mexico travel advisory over fentanyl-laced prescription pills” UPI News, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2023/03/13/state-department-mexico-fentanyl-advisory-markey-trone/8851678734539
2. “Fentanyl in Mexico pharmacy pills spurs travel advisory call” Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-03-13/federal-lawmakers-travel-advisory-mexican-pharmacies-pills-fentanyl
3. “Lawmakers sound the alarm over fentanyl-laced pills sold at Mexican pharmacies” Washington Times, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/14/lawmakers-sound-alarm-over-fentanyl-laced-pills-so
4. “U.S. to fight fentanyl smuggling with new equipment at Arizona port of entry” The Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/03/09/united-states-arizona-border-fentanyl/