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Ministry of Health Recognizes Cancer Medications Shortage

By Antonio Gozain | Wed, 10/27/2021 - 11:17

Theft of medicines and their distribution are the “Achilles’ heel” of Mexico’s Federal Government, acknowledged Jorge Carlos Alcocer Varela, Minister of Health, to the Chamber of Deputies.

“Yes, there has been a shortage of drugs. What were the factors that led to it? I can quickly point out some, from a wide range of issues. For instance, there were reports and complaints associated with the death of children at the Niño Poblano hospital, due to the application of chemotherapy with methotrexate and intra-hospital infections related to drugs produced in private mixing plants. In this case, COFEPRIS suspended the manufacturing line for methotrexate and the manufacturing line for these oncological codes to PISSA, for not meeting quality standards,” said Alcocer amid complaints from PAN deputies.

China and India, two of the main exporters of pharmaceutical raw materials, decreased production due to the pandemic, added Alcocer. He explained that in January 2020, the Government made international purchases to distribute over 277,000 medicines in the 26 INSABI-affiliated states.

Medicine shortages are not a new phenomenon but have been increasing during past years in Mexico after new policies affected the industry’s operations. Compromised medicine supply threatens the healthcare system as a whole by causing additional costs in the search for replacements and putting patients at risk, agreed industry experts during Mexico Health Summit ECHO 2021.

“Mexico used to buy medicines and medical supplies through a centralized system to avoid different prices for every institution and state. The new administration changed everything aiming to avoid intermediaries and buy directly from the pharmaceutical companies, which caused considerable logistic problems. The supply problems we are living now began with these decisions made during the past three years,” said Juan Luis Serrano Leets, Partner of Life Sciences at Sánchez Devanny.

“I Am Not Vaccinating My Grandchildren:” Alcocer

In the context of the analysis of the Third Government Report, Alcocer informed that 180,000 healthcare professionals across the country have been trained to fight the pandemic. Recovery of non-COVID-19 services in hospitals has been a challenge for the entire healthcare system, he added.

Mexico City began administering COVID-19 vaccines for those of ages 12 to 17 with preexisting conditions as the country’s vaccination campaign widens to include minors, reported MBN. With vaccination already approved for 12-years-old and older people in the US, this week an expert committee advised FDA to approve vaccination for children from 5 years of age to 11. This information is yet to be proven, according to Alcocer, who said that his grandchildren will not get the shot.

“Right here (at the Chamber of Deputies) they request (COVID-19) vaccination for children. What is scientifically proven is that children have a wonderful immune system compared to the later phases in the development of their lives. How are we going to hinder that learning of their immune system that will defend them all their lives with the arrival of a totally inorganic structure such as a vaccine? I will answer, I am not vaccinating my grandchildren," said Alcocer.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, El Financiero, El Universal, TIME
Photo by:   Ministry of Health
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst