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Weekly Roundups

Monopolistic Practices, Mental Health Crises Unveiled

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 08/19/2021 - 14:21

Health crisis are far from over. As Mexico tries to control the pandemic, severe mental health issues and monopolistic practices in the distribution of medicines have come into the spotlight. In international news, some countries approved COVID-19 booster jabs while researchers might have found a novel treatment.

Here is the week in health!

Back to School Concerns Continue

Mexico’s Ministry of Education (SEP) introduced the sanitary protocols that will be put in place for the return to face-to-face classes despite the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between June and August there was an increase of 401 percent in infections among the children between 0 and 17 years old in Mexico City. Students will return to classrooms on August 30, although they will have the option of continuing online classes or using a hybrid mode. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recommended for the return to face-to-face classes to be done after a regional analysis that considered the situation of each school to avoid risks of contagion in the classrooms.

Jobs Recover in July

In July 2021, 116,543 new formal jobs were created, the highest figure so far this year according to the IMSS. These numbers contrast with the 3,907 places lost in the same period last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental Health Crisis Cause Worst Suicide Levels

PAHO said this Wednesday that 60 percent of the population suffers from anxiety or depression in the Americas. The organization warned that a mental health crisis could hit the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic and urged countries to take measures to alleviate it. In Mexico, suicides reached historical levels during 2020. In the first year of the pandemic, 7,869 cases were registered throughout the country, 9 percent more than in 2019, according to the INEGI. This figure represents the highest number of suicides in the last 10 years. State of Mexico, Jalisco and Chihuahua were the three entities with the highest number of suicides.

Monopolistic Practices Under the Spotlight

The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) imposed a penalty of more than MX$903 million (US$47 million) on pharmaceutical companies Marzam, Fanasa, Nadro and Almacén de Drogas, as well as 21 individuals for monopolizing the drug distribution market with monopolistic practices between 2006 and 2016. COFECE requested that 10 executives of those sanctioned companies would be disqualification to act as directors, administrators, managers, agents, representatives or proxies.

Moderna Vaccines Reach Mexico

During the next weekend, 1.7 million vaccines from pharmaceutical Moderna will arrive in Mexico as part of the commitment that US Vice President Kamala Harris made with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The emergency use of this vaccine against COVID-19 was approved by COFEPRIS on Wednesday.

Cross Border Vaccination Efforts

Due to the relevant economic activity between the US and Mexico, neighbor cities from both countries have developed strategies to overcome the strain placed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nuevo Leon, for example, reached a vaccination agreement for workers on the US-Mexico border that began this week. Grupo Senda, Farmacias del Ahorro, Metalsa, AlEn, PepsiCo, Femsa, Johnson Controls, Lamosa, Katcon, Alfa, Cemex, Viva Aerobus, Siemens and Gruma joined this scheme.

Booster Jabs Authorized in the US

The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a third jab of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for some immunocompromised people in the US. As several regions fight a new wave of COVID-19 cases, WHO keeps urging rich countries to donate vaccines.

Possible Novel Treatment Against COVID-19

A new drug developed in Israel achieved a 93 percent success rate in the recovery of patients with severe COVID-19 during phase II clinical trials. According to The Jerusalem Post, the drug was developed by a team of researchers from the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, based on a molecule studied for the last 25 years called CD24, which is naturally present in the human body.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst