Government Plans to Externally Supply Medicine at 80 PercentBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 07/15/2020 - 16:58
Yesterday, the Ministry of Heath announced it plans to acquire 80 percent of the medicine supply needed for the public institutions, following WHO and PAHO guidelines. This investment is estimated to be at around MX$60 billion (US$2.7 billion) and MX$70 billion (US$3.1 billion).
Since the beginning of the year, when the new centralized purchasing scheme came into effect, the government announced an international tender to acquire medicine due to “corrupt acts on medicine acquisition during former presidential administrations.” This open tender raised concerns among players of the pharmaceutical industry because they feared a lack of proper regulations and standards being managed by manufacturers entering the country.
During an interview with MBN, the President of the Mexican Association of Pharmaceutical Laboratories (AMELAF), Arturo Morales explained what an international tender for medicine acquisition would involve for the industry. “Holding an open international tender was a step that could have been avoided because the purchase could be dangerous if not done under the same regulatory measures that COFEPRIS establishes, not to mention that it is unfair to national companies that do follow the national acquisition law.”
About the government decision to involve the UN in the process, Morales explained that WHO allows the entrance of those medicines to underdeveloped countries or in cases of a crisis or emergency, which is not the case for Mexico. He further clarified one of the most vocal accusations to the pharmaceutical industry. “We are not facing a shortage; the Mexican pharmaceutical industry has the capacity to cover those gaps but has no certainty from the government. We depend on what the public sector requires and if there is no clarity, the result is that medications cannot be manufactured on time, leading to shortages.” Cristóbal Thompson, Executive Director of AMIIF, was also interviewed by MBN on the subject. “The Mexican pharmaceutical sector has the capacity to supply the local market. To date, medicinal supply has been covered. What caused most of the delays were tender discussions,” he said.
President of ANAFAM, Cecilia Bravo also expressed her concerns about this international tender and said that “the openness to imported products from anywhere is adversely affecting national production. Products are being bought from countries that have lesser sanitary standards.” Bravo explained that this is a subject more complex that what it might seem and as an example, she brought up how the measure endangers pharmacovigilance matters and what it could mean in terms of tax losses and, therefore, lost work opportunities. “Other countries could be subsidizing their industries, thus creating an unfair competitive advantage over Mexican companies,” said Bravo.
These three representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, however, made vocal their openness for dialogue and cooperation with the government. “We want to defend our national industry to help it grow and to maintain the level of high-quality jobs we offer,” said Morales. ANAFAM is currently taking further action. “We are filing an amparo against a disposition proposed by the government that lowers the import requirements for many products, particularly in the oncological area. The government is opting for direct purchases without any bidding process,” said Bravo.