An investigation into the corruption of former Governor Javier Duarte has uncovered allegations that children with cancer were treated in state-run hospitals in Veracruz with counterfeit chemotherapy medicines due to budget shortfalls and lack of resources caused by his administration. The BBC reports, that when tested, the counterfeit chemotherapy drugs came back as an inert compound. Essentially, it was distilled water.
Current Governor Miguel Angel Yunes Linares said, “This seems to us a brutal crime, an attempt against the lives of the children.” Authorities have lab tests results that were performed by Roche Laboratories dating back to 2010 to prove the use of fake chemotherapy drugs. According to Telesur, Prosecutors allege that Duarte embezzled or misspent as much as US $2 billion since he took office nearly six years ago.
The Mexico News Daily reports that Juan Antonio Nemi Dib, a former health secretary in Veracruz, also confirmed that fake cancer drugs were discovered as early as 2010, but said he was told were removed and not used. When he was appointed in 2014, Nemi Dib received complaints from doctors and nurses about the purchase of counterfeit chemotherapy medicine.
Mexico News Daily also notes that after he left office, Nemi Dib filed a freedom-of-information request and found that there were at least eight cases of children that could have survived cancer had they had received treatment with legitimate chemotherapy medicines. The former official said that the children had died in a state-run cancer clinic in Xalapa, and that “many more could have died in their homes. There were many cases like that one which I wasn’t able to document, as my time in office was very short.”
An investigation is underway and Governor Yunes Linares has said a legal complaint will be filed when it is completed.