Mexico Faces Shortage of Psychiatric Medicines
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Mexico Faces Shortage of Psychiatric Medicines

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Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/22/2023 - 08:57

The Mexican Psychiatric Association (APM) highlighted the urgent need to address the scarcity of specialized prescription medicines, which puts those with mental disorders in a vulnerable position as the interruption of their treatment disrupts their daily lives. 


“There are patients who only respond positively to one specific medication, such as lithium carbonate for patients with bipolar disorder; the lack of it can increase the risk of suicidal behavior,” Jaqueline Cortés, President, APM, tells W Radio. Lithium salts have long been used to treat the mania phase of bipolar disorder and researchers keep finding new applications in the treatment of other mental diseases, as reported by MBN


Health professionals and patients have reported that public and private pharmacies are out of some specialized prescriptions such as lithium carbonate, clonazepam, alprazolam, clozapine and methylphenidate. The interruption of these treatments can increase the risk of mania and psychotic episodes, among other consequences. 


Since the start of the pandemic, mental health issues have increased fivefold, threatening the ability of current services to meet the needs of those struggling, found a study by the Belisario Domínguez Institute of the Senate of the Republic on the right to mental health after COVID-19, as reported by MBN. After the sanitary crisis, these types of disorders increased by between 20% and 30% in Mexico, as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders augmented, as reported by the University of Guadalajara. It is estimated that one in every five people has a mental health disorder.


The APM urged the public and private sectors to fix the administrative issues that are generating this problem and taking away from patients their opportunity to recover and to have a life with access to the appropriate mental healthcare. 


The scarcity of medicines has been an ongoing problem throughout the current administration. For example, a project to acquire medicines from UNOPS contributed to the country’s medicine shortage. “The exit of UNOPS is a recognition by the federal government and INSABI that the strategy did not deliver the expected results. Last year [2021] was one of the slowest in terms of procurement. This sector in Mexico normally acquires between 1.6 and 1.8 billion products but last year, only 1.3 billion were obtained,” Enrique Martínez, Director General, INEFAM, told MBN.

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