Special Report: Picking Pills

3 years 6 months 2 days ago Wednesday, November 27 2019 Nov 27, 2019 November 27, 2019 8:19 PM November 27, 2019 in Investigations

NUEVO PROGRESO – Medication from Mexico is a financial lifesaver for some, but for others a risk.

A dollar will get you across into Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, where for under $20 you can buy many of the prescription drugs also available in the U.S.

Judy Ann Rodriguez is a cancer survivor. In 2018, she said a box of Pentrexyl or the anti-biotic Ampicillin are the medications she would buy frequently across the border. Until she noticed she wasn’t feeling better.

“I felt bloated and just. I was actually feeling stomach cramps, I think maybe five minutes after I would take it, but I thought it was just my flu and I was just getting sicker,” Rodriguez described.

She opened a capsule revealing a flour-like appearance and another that was empty. She began to have serious doubts about her purchase in Mexico.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS contacted the biopharmaceutical company printed on the label on Rodriguez’s box, Bristol-Myers Squibb. They told us they stopped manufacturing Pentrexyl in 2017 and it was diverted to Aspen Pharmacare.

An Aspen spokesperson had us send them photos and information of the product Rodriguez purchased. Later, they confirmed the product was not manufactured by them. They also mentioned, in 2017, a high alert was issued over a batch of Pentrexyl believed to be counterfeit.

We went to the Nuevo Progeso pharmacy Rodriguez visited then purchased the Aspen version of Pentrexyl. Then we bought the Bristol-Myers Squibb version at another location nearby.

We got a pill from each box, sent it to be tested at the U.S. Drug Test Laboratories in Deer Park, Texas and waited for the results.

For more information about prohibited and restricted prescribed medications, people can visit the CBP 'know before you go' website, and the Federal Drug Administration website.

Watch the video above for the full special report.

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