ILLEGAL PHARMACEUTICALS: Bill Seeks to Make Sales a Felony
On the heels of a three-day Los Angeles Times series this week investigating the sale of illegal pharmaceuticals in California, Assembly Health Committee Chair Martin Gallegos (D-Baldwin Park) said yesterday he will re-introduce legislation to make such sales a felony, the Los Angeles Times reports. Gallegos' attempt to pass similar legislation last year "was derailed by Senate leaders who" opposed the creation of new nonviolent felonies. Gallegos, who said Mexican officials "need to understand that it's not just (harming) American citizens, but Mexican nationals as well," noted that he may propose that the bill allows judges to determine whether the sales are a misdemeanor or a felony and to "exempt it from three-strikes laws" (Weber, 5/26).
Call to Action
Capping off its series, a Los Angeles Times editorial today urges a multi- faceted campaign in the private and public sectors to curb the widespread smuggling and use of pharmaceuticals long banned or withdrawn in the United States due to potentially lethal side effects. The editorial scoffs at arguments that the FDA is too restrictive or that "few Mexicans die from these pharmaceuticals," noting that in actuality, "causes of deaths are poorly tracked in Mexico." It urges pharmaceutical companies to "examine their sales practices" and "lend their marketing savvy" to warn against illegal drugs; the government to "give customs officials the clearer guidelines they need to help stem the flood"; clinics to hire Spanish-speaking staff and offer care in areas "close to home and work"; and public health officials to inform immigrants of their qualification for Medi-Cal and Healthy Families benefits (5/26).