Mexico is already seeing black-market or fake versions of molnupiravir circulating for sale, just one week after authorities approved the drug to treat those at risk of severe COVID-19

MEXICO CITY — Mexico said Friday it is already seeing black market or fake versions of molnupiravir circulating for sale, just one week after authorities approved the drug to treat those at risk of severe COVID-19.

Mexico’s government approved molnupiravir from Merck for use last week for adults with COVID-19 and “a high risk of complications.” On Friday the agency approved a second pill, Paxlovid, from Pfizer, for use on adult patients “at risk for complications.”

Mexico has long been plagued by counterfeit medicines, corruption within the regulatory agency, and a penchant for self-medication due to the country’s inadequate health care infrastructure.

Mexico does so little testing that, while test-confirmed COVID-19 deaths hover around 300,000, a government review of death certificates places the real toll at around 460,000.

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