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Health Alert: Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals (March 17,2023)
March 17, 2023

Event:  Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

Location:  Mexico

The U.S. Department of State is aware of recent media reports regarding counterfeit pharmaceuticals available at pharmacies in Mexico, including those tainted with fentanyl and methamphetamine.  U.S. citizens are reminded to consult our Country Information Page for Mexico and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which include some of the following information regarding pharmaceuticals in Mexico:


 -Exercise caution when purchasing medication in Mexico.  Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little regulation.  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.

-The Drug Enforcement Administration reports counterfeit prescription pills are sold by criminals on both sides of the border.  These pills are sometimes represented as OxyContin, Percocet, Xanax and others, and may contain deadly doses of fentanyl.  Counterfeit pills are readily advertised on social media and can be purchased at small, non-chain pharmacies in Mexico along the border and in tourist areas.

-U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration regulate the transport of medication into the United States.  Per regulation, medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States.  Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

-Visit the Mexican Health Department website (Spanish only) or contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C., for more information about obtaining a permit to import medicine into Mexico.

-For a list of controlled substances in Mexico, visit the COFEPRIS website (Spanish only).  U.S. citizens should carry a copy of their prescription or doctor’s letter, but be aware you are subject to Mexican law while in Mexico and authorities can arrest individuals with substances which are illegal in Mexico.  Note that a medicine considered “over the counter” in some U.S. states may be a controlled substance in Mexico.  For example, pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed, is considered a controlled substance in Mexico.  For more information, contact the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C.


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U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico

From Mexico:  +52 (55) 8526 2561

From the United States:  +1-844-528-6611

Department of State – Consular Affairs:  +1-888-407-4747 or +1-202-501-4444



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