Sunday, May 19, 2024

14 Culiacán businesses shut down by feds, including 6 pharmacies

Fourteen businesses in Culiacán, Sinaloa, have been shut down by Mexico’s federal health agency (Cofepris) for selling unlicensed chemicals that pose a high health risk to the public.

The fourteen establishments included six pharmacies, seven chemical and agrochemical substance marketers, and one warehouse, according to a joint statement by Cofepris and the Mexican Navy (Semar). The closures followed 31 simultaneous visits to 16 chemical marketers by Cofepris and Semar personnel, as part of the health regulator’s operation Albatros III. The agencies seized 26.85 tonnes of chemicals and 38,863 boxes of medicines that did not comply with current licenses and health standards.

Pharmaceutical ingredients were also seized at agrochemical factories. (Semar)

According to the statement, irregularities included failure to prove legal possession of the substances, unlicensed formulations of plant nutrients, inadequate worker safety protocols and untraceable batches of controlled medications.

Albatros III is the third of a series of raids launched in response to a warning from the U.S. State Department in March that some Mexican pharmacies were selling counterfeit medications, including some laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine.

In August, the first Operation Albatross shut down 23 pharmacies in the state of Quintana Roo, and in December, the second operation shut down 31 pharmacies in Ensenada, Baja California. All faced similar accusations of selling medications without the necessary certifications.

Although official statements said that the seized drugs would be tested for fentanyl, the results of these tests have not been announced. The latest statement issued about Albatros III does not directly mention fentanyl.

Health regulars in Mexico have also swept Ensenada, Baja California and Quintana Roo for counterfit medication. (Juan Pablo Guerra)

However, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times last year reported on medication adulterated with illegal drugs purchased from several pharmacies in tourist destinations in Mexico, warning thatcertain medications, including Adderall, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, posed a particularly high risk..

A U.S. travel advisory remains active, warning American citizens to exercise caution when buying medication in Mexico.

“Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients,” it says. “Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.”

Mexico News Daily

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