Ernesto Algaba
Partner of the Life Sciences Practice
Hogan Lovells in Mexico
Cecilia Stahlhut
Senior Associate of the Life Sciences Practice
Hogan Lovells in Mexico
View from the Top

Big Data Among Coming Game Changers

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 13:17

Q: Which trends has Hogan Lovells identified in the Mexican healthcare sector?
EA: We have observed several trends, challenges and opportunities generated by the current business environment and the change of administration. There have also been changes in innovation within the industry and in the business of companies in the sector. Some trends that are widening are digital health, personalized medicine and regenerative medicines.
For instance, sharing information through different public and private institutions that use Big Data will allow the development of new access models for medicines, public policies and will eventually change the sector’s legal framework.
CS: The use of Big Data could even allow a better use of public funds. Proper use of the electronic clinical file will shorten wait times and reduce costs related to doctor visits. Technology is being used to simplify care in many different ways, from providing direct care through an app to personalized medicine. However, the more technology advances, the more we fall behind in regulation. For instance, regulation created four years ago no longer covers current technology. It will be a challenge for the new administration to create a legal framework for these new technologies.
Another important trend that will impact the healthcare sector in the following months is the discussion regarding the regulation of Cannabis and its use in Mexico.
Q: What regulatory changes would you recommend to reduce the prevalence and impact of counterfeit medicines?
EA: This is an issue that must be addressed by all members of the supply chain. It is also necessary that the federal government makes this issue a priority, since black-market medications place the general population at risk. While regulation concerning counterfeit medicine is clear, we need better enforcement through proper coordination of sanitary, customs and other authorities at all levels: city, state and federal.
CS: COFEPRIS is fully aware of the sale of counterfeit drugs through social networks but the council needs more resources to deal with these problems. It is also necessary to sensitize the general population about the risks of these medicines.
Food supplements also need to be addressed. These products are very popular among Mexicans but better surveillance is needed to guarantee their safety and efficacy. In Mexican culture, traditional medicine is based on herbal medicines so Mexicans often accept herbal supplements that, may offer no guarantees to consumers in many cases, as they are not sufficiently regulated.  
Q: How is Hogan Lovells capitalizing on its 70 years of experience to help his clients address regulatory challenges?
EA: Our clients are now accompanied by specialists who guide them through each process. A period of change and uncertainty is looming and, although we cannot predict what is coming, we do know in which areas our clients will need help. Our role has changed in recent years. We must be highly proactive in the added-value services we provide our clients, as that will allow them to achieve their objectives within the legal framework.
CS: The new administration has expressed its intention to reduce the budget for healthcare, adding that the pharmaceutical industry must reduce the cost of medicines. This decision is part of the administration’s strategy to eventually provide free medicine to the population. This period will introduce challenges to the Mexican pharmaceutical sector as it will be affected by the extension of copyright protection for biotechnological medicines and the incorporation of new players. Taking into account this scenario, the industry should look for new opportunities, such as cannabis products and high-end products, services and technologies.