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Clinics in Pharmacies Cause Controversy

By Rodrigo Andrade | Thu, 08/18/2022 - 12:19

Clinics in pharmacies have become a staple across Mexico, but Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell said that these consulting places do not offer real solutions to many health problems, including chronic diseases.

López-Gatell said that these clinics do not operate under adequate labor standards and can even violate worker’s rights as they are generally operated by doctors who recently graduated from medical school. He also stated that the use of these services can put the patients in danger. “The use of these services is not convenient, as physicians are under significant pressure because they are sales agents for what is sold in the pharmacy. They are under pressure because they have to write prescriptions for multiple drugs.”

López-Gatell also mentioned that these clinics must be closed but this is now unfeasible due to the current state of the Mexican public health system. “But we cannot cancel them outright, what is desirable is that they do not exist.”

His comments have caused controversy in the field. For example, Andrés Castañeda, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Nosotrxs, said that these clinics provide services that the public health sector has not been able to cover, so these institutions should not be singled out but supported and encouraged. “The growth of these clinics is due to two factors: the COCIV-19 pandemic and the shortage of medicines in public institutions,” said Castañeda to El Economista.

Mexico’s public healthcare system has been criticized for lacking a clear framework of operations caused in part by the elimination of Seguro Popular and the creation of INSABI and IMSS-Bienestar. “One of the most concerning problems is the neglect of public health programs in Mexico as good initiatives were paused to achieve the universal care project, which has been unsuccessful so far and caused medicine and supply shortages. Unilateral decision-making has been dominating Mexican public health, leading to poor results and severe repercussions for patient health, which will cause long-term problems for the system,” said Castañeda to MBN.

The Institute of Health for Wellbeing (INSABI) also reported that it received only 40.89 percent of the medicines requested by its hospitals in Mexico, with only 145 million pieces delivered as of July 25, 2022, from the 357 million requested, as reported by MBN.

Photo by:   DarkoStojanovic
Rodrigo Andrade Rodrigo Andrade Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst