Mexico finds yet more corruption in health regulatory agency

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Investigators in Mexico said Wednesday they have found evidence of more corruption in the country’s health regulatory agency.

The agency, the Federal Commission for the Prevention of Health Risks, said in a statement that 11 employees had been fired because of the allegations. It was not clear if any had been charged with crimes.

The agency said the employees passed sensitive information on rule changes to private pharmaceutical firms.

The agency has earned such a reputation for corruption that in 2022, the government announced that medical regulatory inspectors would be required to wear body cameras to guard against improper conduct.

Corruption within the agency has gone to bizarre extremes. In the past employees would physically hide applications for the approval of new drugs unless pharmaceutical firms paid bribes to get their medicines approved.

At one point earlier this year, corruption allegedly including employees demanding bribes from health care outlets in exchange for not closing them down became so bad that marines entered the agency’s Mexico City offices to root out offenders.

The delays in approving new drugs and medicines may have cost some Mexicans their lives.

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