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Government announces 32 dismissed from federal positions after Cofepris corruption investigation

Mexico City, Mexico — A total of 32 government officials have been removed from their federal Cofepris positions after an investigation for corruption. During a morning press conference, Alejandro Svarch, head of the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris), announced the 32 dismissals after an ongoing investigation in September of 2021.

“In Cofepris, corruption occurred from top to bottom and from port entry to marketing authorizations and health surveillance products,” reported Svarch during the Tuesday press conference.

The operation was carried out by the Secretary of the Navy (Semar) to eliminate corruption inside the institution, which resulted in the dismissal of 32 federal officials. Those dismissed were from administrative, ruling and verification units and managed to establish broad criminal structures throughout Cofepris, for which the creation of an Intelligence Center against Sanitary Risks was ordered, he explained.

Svarch said that criminal networks were found inside the Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (Cofepris) that included preference to whoever paid (extortion) which in turn, promoted the monopolies of pharmaceutical companies.

“The formula, either you paid or your application was doomed to oblivion. Access to medicines was for sale to the highest bidder. Multi-million dollar profits were assured due to the lack of competition in the market,” Svarch pointed out.

Other criminal activities found included corruption where a network of extortionists posing as public servants charged companies under the threat of suspending activities, and impunity, since there were interest groups that handled foreign trade in the pharmaceutical industry.

“The darkest and most rotten pulled the strings of the pharmaceutical industry. Evidence of meetings in broad daylight were detected because they felt protected by the cloak of impunity,” said the federal official.

The anti-corruption operation was initiated by order of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador due to the high levels of detected irregularities.