Medicines, a profitable market for criminals

Today, EL UNIVERSAL revealed that criminals sell medicines in the Tepito area openly, without being stopped by authorities

Medicines, a profitable market for criminals
Stolen and expired medicines are sold all over the country – Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 11/03/2019 09:09 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:15
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Products stolen by criminals are sold in public but authorities don't act to stop this illegal activity. Street stalls and street markets in popular areas are the most common places to find all kinds of stolen objects on sale. Medicines are one of them.

Today, EL UNIVERSAL revealed that criminals sell medicines in the Tepito area openly, without being stopped by the authorities.

The appeal is the price. For example, medicines to treat diabetes are sold at MXN $15 to MXN $80, while in pharmacies, the price is five or six times higher.

Every day, dozens of people buy these medicines, despite the risks these drugs represent for their health because in many cases, they are expired, therefore, they might have lost or decreased their properties to fight the disease.

Numbers from the National Union of Pharmacy Businesspeople indicate that the black market represents the loss of MXN $16,500 million for the pharmaceutical companies and drugstores every year and which is equivalent to 9% of the total medicine sales in the country.

But this crime hasn't only plagued Mexico City, last year, authorities seized 23 tonnes of medicines in Veracruz, Baja California, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, Jalisco, Puebla, Aguascalientes, and Mexico City.

There are two types of medicines on sale on the streets: those that are sold over-the-counter or that require a prescription and that can be found in any pharmacy and others that are “Property of the Health sector, not for sale.” In the case of the first, criminals usually obtain them by robbing pharmacies, where they steal medicines and money, according to the Unefarm. In the second case, there are also stolen but the main source for criminals is corruption; instead of giving the medicines to the beneficiaries of the public health sector, they give the medicines to criminals bands.

Buying medicines in an unauthorized place contribute to developing a market that feeds on crime, which could eventually evolve into other types of crimes. Stopping this crime now would mean to prevent future crimes. Nevertheless, until now, authorities have ignored the situation and have neglected its duty to fight and end this crime.


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