Rising financial barriers are forcing an increasing number of US citizens to search for cost-effective, anti-obesity medications abroad. The cost of prescription drugs like Saxenda has surged to an average of US$1,349 per month in the US, prompting patients to travel to Mexico where they can get the same treatment for around US$100.
The challenge of managing prescription costs resonates widely across the US, as highlighted by a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study reveals that one in four US citizens struggle to afford their prescription drugs, with an average yearly out-of-pocket expense of US$1,250 for anti-obesity medications.
The challenge is especially pronounced in the case of anti-obesity medications, which are frequently not covered by insurance plans due to their steep cost. This discrepancy is evident among insurance companies and affects 42% of the populace categorized as obese, based on the contentious measurement known as body mass index (BMI).
The increasing number of US citizens heading to Mexico to obtain prescription drugs highlights the extent to which individuals are willing to go to alleviate their healthcare-related financial burdens. In Mexico, the trend represents a significant remunerative opportunity . This trend has the potential to drive economic growth by boosting revenue and employment opportunities.
Mexico stands to experience a surge in demand for healthcare professionals including doctors, pharmacists and healthcare experts, to enhance its capacities. Beyond job creation, this trend might also fuel an upswing in medical tourism, contributing to Mexico's economic expansion.
Prior to the pandemic, Mexico's medical tourism industry was valued at US$5 billion and projected to grow by 25% by 2030, according to Healthcare Medica and Bancomext.
On the other hand, the surge in demand could strain the availability of prescription drugs for Mexican nationals. Concerns about safety are also significant, given the potential for counterfeit or substandard drugs from Mexico. Instances of these fake drugs appearing in the market serve as warnings, emphasizing the need for caution.
As the pursuit of affordable medications across borders gains momentum, effectively addressing potential challenges becomes vital to ensure both affordability and patient safety.