August 14, 2023: Woman reports temporary paralysis from a fake weight loss injection.

This week: Hospitals are being impacted by drug shortages. More U.S. sanctions against Sinaloa Cartel members. Uzbeki courts pursue the fake cough syrup supply chain. News about counterfeit pills in 15 states.

National News

New sanctions against Sinaloa Cartel members. Mexican authorities close pharmacies offering medicine without requiring a prescription. 

Some Mexican pharmacies that cater to tourists are selling fakes, and it has cost some Americans their lives. Catch up on the latest about counterfeits in Mexico.

A new survey released by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists found that drug shortages were critically impacting patient treatments 32% of the time, with 57% of respondents reporting that shortages of chemotherapy drugs were the most critical.

The U.S. Department of State announced sanctions against three Sinaloa Cartel members for their roles in the organizations fentanyl trafficking activities that have caused so many poisoning and deaths in the U.S. This is the third time this year federal agencies have levied sanctions against individuals and companies in Mexico with ties to cartels manufacturing fentanyl.

Authorities in Mexico closed 23 pharmacies in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum after the stores offered to sell pills - such as oxycodone, Adderall, and Percocet - to foreigners without a prescription. Tests are pending to determine what the pills were made of.

Advocates spoke in Los Angeles and San Rafael, California about losing family members to counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.

International News

Scottish woman briefly paralyzed by counterfeit weight loss medicine. Trial begins in Uzbekistan in a case involving the deaths of 65 children from tainted cough syrup.

A trial began in Uzbekistan against 21 individuals for their roles in approving, importing, and distributing Indian-made cough syrup that killed 65 children last year.

A woman in Scotland was briefly left unable to move or speak after she injected herself with a weight loss medication that turned out to be counterfeit.  Fake prescription weight loss medicines are widely available on the black market and have been found in the U.S. Learn more on PSM’s Counterfeit Ozempic page.

Police arrested a man in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who was found in possession of a large quantity of Xanax pills that police believe to be counterfeit.

Authorities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia discovered 1.3 million amphetamine tablets hidden in a shipment of electric appliances.

Health Canada seized unauthorized products from two health food stores in British Columbia that contained undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Health authorities in Malaysia issued a warning after four products tested positive for undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients, including sibutramine, tadalafil, and steroids.

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A Scottish woman reported suffering a mini-stroke after using a weight loss injection she didn't realize was counterfeit. (Glasgow Live, August 2023.)


News about cases involving counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in 10 states. 

Jayson Omar Perez-Quinones and his coconspirators packaged fake oxycodone pills into 200-count bags. (U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida)

48-year-old Jayson Omar Perez-Quinones of Orlando, Florida received a 15-year federal prison sentence for trafficking fentanyl pills and laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds. The two-year investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration ended in the seizure of 13,000 “M/30” pills and approximately $30,000 in January 2023. Two conspirators have received five-year sentences.

27-year-old Kenneth James Hughes, Jr. of Winchester, Virginia was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison for selling fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone to a fellow Winchester resident who died after taking them in October 2020.

Summer Leigh Allery of Grand Forks, North Dakota pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime for supplying a dealer with counterfeit pills made of fentanyl that killed someone in January 2022.

People in West Sacramento, California and Green Bay, Wisconsin were charged with counterfeit pill deaths or poisonings. Defendants in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Biloxi, Mississippi; the Bronx and Syracuse, New York; Houston and Lamesa, Texas and Casper and Cheyenne, Wyoming (1, 2) were sentenced for charges related to trafficking counterfeit pills.


A fake Viagra seizure in New Jersey. Pressed pill seizures in 7 states.

Customs and Border Protection officers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey found over 10,000 tablets of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, in a passenger’s baggage.

In Washington, the King County Sheriff’s Office and Shoreline Police Department  seized 290,000 fentanyl pills and over 16 pounds of over illicit drugs in the bust of an alleged drug trafficker working in Shoreline, Burien, White Center, and Seattle.

Counterfeit pills were also confiscated in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Forest City, North Carolina;  LaPine, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Oakesdale and Vancouver, Washington; Cheyenne and Cody, Wyoming.

CBP found 10,000 tablets of sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) in a passenger’s luggage at Newark Liberty International Airport. (CBP, August 2023)