It’s been a busy few weeks for inspectors with the Baja California Sur State Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks.
Ever since a story broke in the Los Angeles Times, as well as in local publications, about the risk to tourists at Los Cabos pharmacies, they have been out inspecting pharmacies and enforcing policies to ensure safety.
What Was The Issue?
An investigative story by the Los Angeles Times uncovered a number of different potentially dangerous procedures happening at Los Cabos pharmacies. They ranged from illegal pill cutting to the sale and distribution of the addictive drug fentanyl.
The reason why it became a big deal is that the Los Angeles Times is the largest daily circulation newspaper in the main tourist market for Los Cabos.
It also was the fact that tourists might visit pharmacies in Mexico to obtain lower-priced required medicines without a prescription along with the occasional remedy when not feeling well on vacation.
The Inspections Start
The Los Angeles Times article created an international firestorm on both sides of the border. Even Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador got involved in the conversation, saying Mexico did not sell fentanyl.
That unleashed a series of surprise inspections locally by the Baja California Sur State Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks.
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While the inspectors found occurrences of pill cutting, as alleged by the Los Angeles Times, and some shoddy record keeping, they did not report any illegal sales of fentanyl.
Where It Stands Now
The inspections by the Baja California Sur State Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks are ongoing.
In fact, they are reporting that since the news broke about the incident, they have completed more than 450 random checks at pharmacies located in the principal tourist areas of Los Cabos.
According to the head of the supervisory unit José Manuel Larumbe Pineda, no illegal sales of fentanyl have occurred, and no splitting of pills has happened without the proper permission of the Ministry of Health of the Government of Mexico.
He has confirmed that the pharmacies in Los Cabos are following the proper state and federal regulations about the dispensing of medication to both locals and tourists.
However, while he was able to confirm that illegal sales of fentanyl are not happening in local pharmacies, he did point out that some illegal sales may still be happening from other sources in Los Cabos.
Larumbe Pineda also stated that his agency would be personally responsible for the illegal dispensing of any medication in violation of federal and state health regulations to tourists in Los Cabos.
Advice For Tourists
Tourists should feel assured that the pharmacies in Los Cabos have been inspected several times and are under constant monitoring and enforcement for their safety.
Officials at all three levels of the government – federal, state, and municipal – have all made this issue one of their top priorities, as tourism is critical to not only the prosperity of Baja California Sur but of Los Cabos as well.
According to the Ministry of Health of the Government of Mexico, any pharmacy caught selling cut pills without proper government authorization can be fined 180,000 pesos (about $9,000 dollars) to risk being completely shut down.
Tourists are urged to observe their medication being dispensed by the pharmacist and visit only those in Los Cabos that appear to be acting in a professional and safe manner. If it looks like strange or unusual behavior or transactions are happening, tourists are advised to avoid visiting that pharmacy.
Any tourist visiting a pharmacy in Los Cabos and experiencing an unsafe situation can report the incident to the Baja California Sur State Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks online at www.coeprisbcs.gob.mx.
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