Ana María Pedroza
Director General
View from the Top

Investment in Prevention Means Less Expenditure for Treatments

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 17:05

Q: What is MedPrimex’s most successful venture in Mexico, considering its diverse product portfolio?
A: OC-Auto FIT is, without a doubt, our strongest product. It is an immunochemical colorectal cancer screening test, meaning an improved fecal occult blood test. We started developing this product six years ago, recognizing that a clinical test for colorectal cancer (CRC) could save lives through prevention. At MedPrimex, we believe prevention is the starting point to proper healthcare and a way to make expenditure in this sector much more efficient. Treating a patient with CRC costs the government over MX$1.5 million (US$78,000) a year, while a MedPrimex test to detect CRC costs less than MX$1,000 (US$52).
CRC is the third-most frequently diagnosed cancer in the world and screening has proven effective for early detection. MedPrimex purchased a state-of-the-art analyzer that is 99 percent sensitive and 99 percent specific to provide the most reliable results in the market. Some of the advantages of OC-Auto FIT are that it is noninvasive, samples can be collected in the privacy of a person’s home, it detects lesions throughout the length of the large bowel, requires no bowel preparation and is very affordable.
Q: Who can benefit the most from MedPrimex’s OC-Auto FIT and how have you worked to raise awareness on the importance of CRC testing?
A: OC-Auto FIT is best-suited for people over 25 years old who have a family history of cancer. Otherwise, it is recommended for 45-year-old patients or older. Statistically speaking, of every 1,000 people who take our CRC test, 25 need to follow up with a colonoscopy and only seven test positive. OC-Auto FIT’s reliability stems from its ability to distinguish occult blood from blood derived from raw foods and color from vegetables such as beets or red sodas.
Awareness is important not only for early detection of cancer but for prevention. There is a great deal of ignorance regarding the benefits of a good diet in preventing cancer and the fact that smoking increases the likelihood of colon cancer. We work closely with the Ichy & Santy Foundation for early detection of cancer to disseminate knowledge regarding prevention and early detection of CRC with OC-Auto FIT, especially among vulnerable segments of the population.
Q: How does MedPrimex use genetics in relation to diet and the potential to reduce the probability of getting cancer?
A: Our ADNnutriControl program uses genetics to help patients lose weight, improve their quality of life and eat healthier. It is a genetically-customized program that tests genetic variations to determine how a person’s body responds to certain nutrients and food ingredients, thus providing insight into how to eat appropriately. This program helps people lose weight 2.5 times faster without affecting nutrition. Genes are the blueprint of our body and understanding how they work can help prevent diseases like obesity, which in 80 percent of the cases is related to a genetic predisposition. Unfortunately, penetration of genetic testing is still very low in Mexico because it is not affordable for everyone. Prices average MX$30,000 (US$1,560), which means these tests are only available to upper-income households.
Q: What alliances has MedPrimex formed to better market its solutions?
A: We work with a network of allies, such as Dr. José María Remes of the Autonomous University of Veracruz, to develop treatments. In cancer detection we work with Seguro Popular of Hidalgo and for early colonoscopies we have an alliance with Clínica Gástrica, INCAN and other health institutions. We have provided OC-Auto FIT to Seguro Popular for some years. Our goal now is to collaborate with ISSSTE and IMSS. We are lobbying with the authorities, representatives, Congress and other high-ranking officials to make CRC screenings a priority for healthcare. To ensure success, we are building a network of doctors to spread the word about the importance of CRC testing and the advantages of our OC-Auto FIT.