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Weekly Roundups

Medicine Distribution Compromised Once More

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 03/18/2021 - 12:08

Vaccination campaigns in Mexico are going slower than expected. Moreover, corruption and government issues are negatively impacting public health. This week, the world faced challenging immunization processes after the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was tested in Europe. Countries have also endorsed a vaccination passport to ensue travel reactivation during the summer.

Here is the Week in Health!

NATIONAL

-A woman in San Luis Potosi who had received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during pregnancy gave birth to a baby with antibodies against COVID-19, reported Colegio de Ginecología y Obstetricia de San Luis Potosí. This is the first case of this type registered in Mexico.

-The General Customs Administration, along with the Mexican Army, seized 1,155 vials of Sputnik V vaccines in the state of Campeche. These were intended to be transported in a private aircraft to Honduras. An investigation was opened to determine the origin of the doses.

-COFEPRIS approved the emergency use of Baricitinib as a treatment for COVID-19. This treatment is targeted for rheumatoid arthritis but due to its beneficial reduction of systemic inflation, it has the potential to treat lung damage.

-El Economista communicated that innovative biopharmaceutical companies report a bottleneck in medicine deliveries to the public sector due to INSABI’s lack of clarity regarding logistics. The report states that medicines were already acquired in public medicine tenders through UNOPS and are ready to be delivered.

Rafael Gual, Director General of CANIFARMA explained that the role of UNOPS in the procurement of medicines “concludes” at the time of delivery of the goods at the places designated for that purpose, with INSABI in charge of the process from that point on. Even in the case of products coming from abroad, the import procedures are INSABI’s responsibility. “Unfortunately, distribution has been one of the most severe problems that the system has suffered from and which has persisted over the last two years,” shared Gual with MBN. He also explained that currently, only two out of the 11 locations designated for the delivery of products in Mexico City’s metropolitan area are operating. “This is why at present, deliveries of the first products are experiencing delays that are not attributable to the manufacturers, a situation that will worsen as a greater number of items are delivered.”

According to Gual, a more worrying bottleneck is the designation of the state-owned company Birmex to oversee the distribution of all consumables. “The company’s inexperience in these functions is enough reason to doubt its capacity to deliver the necessary pharmaceutical products and health supplies to every corner of our country, especially since medicines require special handling conditions, many of them in cold chain.”

-According to an article by El Economista, during the pandemic and despite austerity allegations, Mexico acquired medicine at up to 10 times its price through Birmex. This state-owned company is currently one of the selected companies participating in public medicine tenders and manufacturing the Sinovac vaccine in the country. The medicine acquired by the government through Birmex is also locally manufactured in Mexico. However, these medicines were acquired in Lithuania, which caused this tenfold price increase.

INTERNATIONAL

-Over 15 European countries have suspended use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine while investigating a possible link between thrombosis and the vaccine. WHO called on countries not to stop vaccination, as there is no evidence to ensure that there is a relation to these complications.

-Spain is the seventh country in the world and the fourth in Europe to allow physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia for patients suffering from incurable diseases and people with unbearable permanent illnesses.

-The European Commission introduced the COVID-19 vaccine passport to enable safe travel of millions of residents during the upcoming summer. These 27 countries join China in this new passport requirement for safe travel.

Expert Contributors

-Don´t miss this week’s article by Jaime Castro, Director General of QBD, about good business continuity practices in times of shortages. Castro talks about supply chain dependency in Mexico and how to overcome this in times of crisis.

-Also, be sure to check Juana Ramirez’s article. The CEO and Founder of Grupo SOHIN talks about post-COVID-19 care, with follow-up being key to long-term health. Ramirez explains the treatment options and needs of COVID-19 patients.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst