Innovation as a Sustainable Economic PillarBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 03/09/2021 - 12:52
During Mexico Health Summit 2021, Mexican industry leaders stressed the importance of investing in health to boost economic development. The healthcare sector represents approximately 3 percent of the national GDP, it provides 100,000 direct jobs and 300,000 indirect jobs. “Having national research and manufacturing is key to ensure that Mexico is not dependent on other countries to provide quality medicine in a timely manner to the population,” said Arturo Morales, Corporate Affairs Director of Landsteiner, during the event.
This is not an isolated comment. In fact, since the COVID-19 outbreak, Mexico’s dependency on foreign products and innovation became a concern. It is not that the country has a poor health industry. The country is a strong manufacturer hub but it focuses on foreign innovations.
The investment in innovation that other countries have made during the pandemic have sustained their economies and accelerated their economic recovery. The clearest examples are countries with a COVID-19 vaccine development, such as the US with Pfizer, Russia with Sputnik V or China with CanSino and SinoVac.
Likewise, investment in innovation drives further opportunities to grow. Such was the case of Liomont, whose investment in an innovative, state-of-the-art facility led the laboratory to be selected as a local manufacturer for AstraZeneca’s vaccine. While this is a private investment, Benjamin Vega, Commercial Director or Allen Laboratorios explained to MBN that the general regulatory environment and the national economy need to be healthy, which depends on the government. “The national industry strongly depends on government tenders and the public sector depends on this supply, so it is important to restructure what has been done,” he said. Vega highlighted that Mexico has a very strong pharmaceutical industry that in addition to supplying therapies, provides dignified jobs and creates innovation opportunities leading to a virtuous circle for the local economy.
For Cecilia Padierna, Director of New Business Development at LEI Laboratories, to build independent supply chains and a sustained national economy, private investment should be directed to local R&D so the domestic industry can start maturing. “This should not be seen as nationalism but as building a better future and capacities for our country in case a scenario like the current pandemic were to replicate,” she said. The private sector could act as the first investor. However, “if the government offered incentives or international funds were available, this could serve as additional support,” Padierna added.
Investment in technological innovation has been a watershed for countries with conviction to grow their industrial footprint. For instance, Chile was quick to invest in innovative tracing solutions for COVID-19 cases with its Safe Return app developed by EY focused on avoiding mass spreading of COVID-19 at workspaces.
Carlos López Patán, Director General of Medix, stated during Mexico Health Summit 2021 that Mexico needs to strengthen clinical research and take advantage of the incredible talent that it has developed over the years. “Tech should be enabled, so doctors and laboratories can be part of a virtual chain that uses artificial intelligence to not only develop medicine but also create a more accurate profile of patients,” Patán stated.