Over the counter Antibiotics No More

Over the counter antibiotics are illegal in Mexico. But as with many legal requirements in Mexico, enforcement is lax and the rule usually ignored. In the news this morning it was announce no more Mr. Nice Guy drug providers. There will be a crackdown on all the self-prescribed, self-medicating antibiotic pill popping. Under rules that take effect today, pharmacies will face tighter oversight and stricter disclosure requirements to make sure they sell antibiotics only to patients with prescriptions. Violators face fines of up to $15,000 U.S. and possible closure.

Many of these pronouncements out of Mexico City often do not make it to our more rural area. Time will tell whether this will be enforced locally.

Last year during the pig flu epidemic (H1N1 virus) many people infected with the flu virus first treated themselves with antibiotics, and then went to the doctor only after it was too late. The claim is some of the 1000 plus deaths occurred from these delays.

Sadly the poor that are unable to afford to go to a doctor, the many that have learned to prescribe and perhaps use with care will be penalized. Surely more deaths will occur because of this. But the logic tends to fall more to the side of reducing the access. The answer is less cost to visit doctors and less cost for medication – of course that isn’t going to happen. The problem in the U.S. is over -prescribing antibiotics – the drug remains controversial even with the super powers.

Whatever the truth is with all this, the fact is people are totally over medicated with antibiotics, self-prescribed and obtained over the counter or prescribed by doctors. The Calypso household has not ingested antibiotics since the Carter administration (remember Jimmy Carter?).

Our suspicious libertarian mind thinks this is more about Mexican doctors getting more visits and making more dough than it is about trying to reduce antibiotic use. But the argument remains valid regardless of why it is being promoted.

In other news a local Veracruz boy makes good. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ baseball team announced its agreement to purchase the rights of 16-year-old Luis Heredia from the Veracruz Red Eagles team here in Mexico. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, though the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the signing bonus is worth $2.6 million. That is a whole lot of money around these parts.

The Pirates had plenty of competition in the Heredia sweepstakes. The Blue Jays and Yankees were among the other teams reportedly interested, and it was ultimately up to the Veracruz team to decide where Heredia, who Baseball America ranked as the top international pitching prospect heading into 2010, would go.

We will be watching for Heredia’s future success.

We have sun this morning. Life is Good. Stay Tuned!

  • Liz W.

    Thank you for the variety of subjects and insights.I’mgoing to be staying in Xalapa during the entire month of October, my first visit to Mexico, and I am very interested in Xico and future possibilities in this area. I am certified as a ESL teacher – hope to use that in volunteer work and/or part-time work. Hope to meet you.Great news about the young baseball talent; Pittsburgh is a good place to live and learn (I raised five kids there.) En paz, Liz

  • http://inveracruz.blogspot.com/ Leah

    As in the US, everytime I go for a doctor’s visit here I am prescribed all kinds of pills, often without any kind of test or even checkup to investigate symptoms. It’s a matching game of symptoms to pills, and if the first round doesn’t work, try again with others.

    This may backfire on the medical industry, as many people may choose alternative medicine/healers instead. At least, we have that option, unlike those NOB.

  • Chrissy

    Antibiotics are great if you need them, and terrible if you dont. I agree that access should be limited. I had not taken any until the recent dog bite, then I was very thankful to have them. Infection started immediatly and delivered directly to my muscle, deep skin tissue and blood stream.

  • Jonna

    I think reducing the free access to antibiotics is a good thing for everyone, whether it is enforced will be interesting. I’m someone who worked in a gritty inner city where people never finished the antibiotics they were given when they ended up in the system thus creating lots of antibiotic resistant strains that made even ordinary diseases deadly. Diseases that should be non existent, like tuberculosis, have made a comeback in a more deadly form and endanger all of us. This is a danger here in Mexico and has already resulted in more resistant diseases. Let’s hope the new law works.

  • http://steveinmexico.blogspot.com/ Steve Cotton

    I agree with Jonna. I have witnessed first hand the effect of antibiotic-resistant diseases at the Salvation Army shelter. Nasty diseases those. But I share the same doubts. Mexico City declares. The provinces ignore.

  • frankania

    I seem to vaguely remember a Jimmy Carter. God, that was a long time ago. I aqree with minimizing medicines, and unless absolutely necessary, take nothing but alka-seltza.