Three types of pills were found at her home. One contained Zolpidem, a powerful hypnotic not available in Canada. Another contained the anti-anxiety med Alprazolam, which is available with a prescription, and the third contained acetaminophen. The drugs were laced with extremely high quantities of metal, and an autopsy showed she died of cardiac arrhythmia stemming from metal toxicity.
"What we have is the first person (for whom) we have all the facts, who we know died as a result of these drugs," coroner Rose Stanton tells The Globe and Mail. "But what we also know is lots of people are buying these drugs. So the potential for more deaths is high."
Indeed, Bergeron was cited as a tragic warning by the head of Pfizer's global security in testimony given Congress last May - two months before the coroner weighed in. The website Bergeron visited claimed to be Canadian but reportedly went offline and was previously cited by the FDA for selling counterfeit Zolpidem which, by the way, is available by prescription in the US, but not in Canada.
In any event, Bergeron's death is a poignant reminder that counterfeit meds do exist and can be harmful. But if the cost of some meds remains out of reach for enough people, counterfeiting will likely continue. And black markets can be difficult to eradicate. Which raises a question - is it time to discuss legalizing importation?
Should importation be legalized?
- No (56%, 31 Votes)
- Yes (44%, 24 Votes)
Total Voters: 55
Hat tip to Question Authority