There are over 20,000 pharmacies throughout Mexico and many have been selling antibiotics without a prescription and will now be coming under increased scrutiny by Mexico’s FDA equivalent – COFEPRIS. The border pharmacy’s a long time favorite of American residents seeking cheaper drugs and drugs without prescription expect to see a downturn in business from the U.S as a result.
In August the Mexican government will institute a crackdown, levy fines up to $15,000 and potentially close pharmacies dispensing antibiotics without a prescription.
There are existing laws on the books to prohibit the sale of non-prescribed drugs in Mexico but those laws are rarely enforced. Later this year, COFEPRIS will have health inspectors fan across the country making surprise visits to pharmacies suspected of dispensing without prescription, to the alarm of pharmacies that are already struggling. The increased vigilance is in great part due to the unnecessary deaths of H1N1 from self-medications stated Mexican officials.
The cultural tendency to avoid a medical professional and the long lines associated with clinics increased the number of deaths due to H1N1 according to health officials. Therefore the dispensing of antibiotics without a prescription has been deemed a public health issue pushing the topic to the front of policy matters for COFEPRIS.