COVID-19 Disruption on the Mexican Healthcare IndustryBy Miriam Bello | Mon, 06/01/2020 - 11:47
The impact that COVID-19 has had on the healthcare sector can be analyzed from different angles. Medical devices such as ventilators and monitors are among the most demanded due to global shortages, although there has also been an atypical growth in OTC product demand in pharmacies.
According a to a report made by the Mexican fintech Konfio, in March 2020, pharmacy’s sales grew 50 percent compared to March 2019. Doctor’s appointments grew by 12 percent, as well. However, specialty medical devices manufactures have seen a drop in income of 20 percent. Moreover, medical specialty appointments have decreased by 25 percent.
All members of the sector will need financial liquidity to guarantee their operation after the crisis and, just like in other industries, many segments of the healthcare industry will have to transform. The challenges that organizations and the overall industry will face in the following months will demand creativity, technology and adaptability.
An example of adaptability and creativity during the crisis is the Mexican engineering company specialized in the development of medical devices, Arroba Ingeniería. On an interview with MBN, CEO Juan Dovarganes said that the company had to reconfigure its production. “Right now, we are focusing on designing products for the pandemic, such as transfer capsules. With the expertise of Arroba Ingeriería, we were able to create a transfer capsule that complies with regulatory requirements and that offers guidance for assembly and use, making it an important device during the pandemic,” says Dovarganes. Arroba Ingeniería’s capsule project was designed together with a biomedical engineer that has an ambulance service company to support the pandemic. As the crisis spread, the biomedical engineer realized that transferring infected patients required special equipment, so he designed 10 of these capsules to use in his ambulances. "Once the virus started reaching more people in the country, he asked us for help" says Dovarganes. Right now, the project is in talks with the UN to manufacture 1,000 capsules to distribute around the country.
As for the pharmacy sector, Executive Director for FANASA Rodolfo Von der Meden told MBN that “this pandemic demands a quick reaction and the ability to adapt to changing demands. FANASA has experienced fast growth in its digital tools. We thought our digital presence was good before, but now we are focusing on strengthening it by feeding it with more content and information that is attractive and useful to our clients,” says Von der Meden.
Digitalization, the other strongly advised step to take during the crisis, is already permeating the sector. An example of this is the online pharmacy for specialized medications, medimonth. Co-founder Emiliano Hernández Laos told MBN that the company has seen a steep rise in demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Sales have increased and we hope that this demand will lead to recurrent client flow. I think this change in purchasing preferences will become a new way of doing things for many people who had not ventured into online shopping before,” says Hernández. The company specially targets vulnerable groups of the population to COVID-19 and Hernández says they are people that need the most delivery pharmacy services to avoid contagion.
COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of life and business but cooperation, adaptability and digitalization are the positive lessons that the pandemic is leaving behind. This could eventually bring a more stable ground for the healthcare industry to boost practices and create better patient-centric solutions.