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Weekly Roundups

Cannabis Regulations, Abortion Rights on the Spotlight

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 07/01/2021 - 15:26

Significant health advances were made this week after cannabis and abortion laws were passed. But there is still a long way to go before meeting Mexico achieves its goal of providing ‘universal healthcare access.’

Read this and more on The Week in Health!

Cannabis Regulations Move Forward

-Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN) struck down some articles prohibiting the use cannabis for recreational purposes. But there are many claims still unresolved, such as those pertaining the production, cultivation, transformation, transportation or sale of cannabis. 

Supply Controversies

-Mexico City’s Association of Parents with Sick Children denounced that medicines for children with cancer did not arrive at hospitals this weekend, as health authorities had previously promised. The Deputy Minister of Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo López-Gatell claimed that complaints about a shortage of oncological drugs were part of a "narrative" of a "coup."

Several states have reported shortages of medicines and medical supplies. Mexico City, Jalisco and State of Mexico, in that order, have the highest number of reports, according to "Mapping the Shortage of Medicines in Mexico," a study made by Cero Desabasto. Most reports concern the lack of diabetes medication, followed by cancer and rheumatological diseases, such as lupus and arthritis.

Public Health Rights Consolidate

-Hidalgo’s Congress approved the decriminalization of abortion before 12 weeks of gestation. The initiative establishes that public, private and social health institutions and reintegration centers must provide the pregnancy termination services free of charge for women.

New Molecules to Spur Medicine Access

-Last week, COFEPRIS announced the optimization of its processes, leading to the approval of several new treatments by the New Molecules Committee (CMN). Federal Commissioner of COFEPRIS, Alejandro Svarch announced via LinkedIn “we have finished with the historical lag of the CMN. With 158 molecules with favorable resolutions and an additional 17 to attend COVID-19 and oncology, we say goodbye to the delay and contribute to supply and innovation in our country.” Read more about the impact of this news here.

Healthcare Expansion

-President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pledged to open a total of 200 hospitals by the end of his six-year term. He also mentioned that the 80 Bienestar hospitals built to date and the 120 remaining ones will not be administered by the Ministry of Health (SSA) or the states. They will be administered by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

Johnson & Johnson to Stop Selling Opioids

-Johnson & Johnson will pay US$230 million to New York, the US, and will suspend the production and sale of its opiate products nationwide, said New York Attorney General Letitia James. Johnson & Johnson is one of the laboratories accused of fueling the opiate crisis that has killed thousands in the US.

COVID-19 Updates

-COFEPRIS authorized the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in teenagers over 12 years of age.

-Mexico’s National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) ruled that COFEPRIS must deliver an electronic copy of the document that approves the use of the COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac in Mexico. The vaccine is manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech. Read more about the causes in this article.

-COVID-19 informative conferences will return this week after the 11 percent increase in infections, announced Deputy Minister López-Gatell.

-Some doctors working at a Citibanamex COVID-19 support center in Mexico City were left without a job when the center closed on June 10, reports Animal Politico. Only some were relocated to a public medical center.

-The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been found in Mexico City, State of Mexico, Puebla, Chihuahua, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi and Baja California, reported the Mexican Consortium for Genomic Surveillance. This variant, first identified in India, has mutated, becoming more "contagious and deadly," according to WHO.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst