Now Will We Have a National Pharmaceutical Policy?By Deyanira Chiñas | Fri, 06/25/2021 - 13:02
On May 27, we received an invitation from the General Health Council of Mexico, extended by its secretary, Dr. José Ignacio Santos Preciado, to assemble all the government, academic and industry agencies involved in the Mexican pharmaceutical industry. The main reason for the gathering was to establish in definite form the National Pharmaceutical Policy (PNF). Efforts have been made to establish such as policy since 1988 and today, 33 years later, it is not yet a reality.
The difference with previous attempts is that today we need to integrate the epidemiological reality in the country that has affected us severely, so regulators, service providers, and industry have been summoned alongside its associations, foundations and academia; all the institutions that are committed to training the next generations that will study and address the needs of the country.
The importance of the PNF today is critical; for this reason, it is indispensable to open this national forum and identify the main problems that trouble our population. Through this forum, we will be able to define a national strategy with all sectors involved so that at last, we can express and establish mid- and long-term goals. In the national development plan 2019-2024, it was established that the entire Mexican population should receive free healthcare, including medication supplies, healing products and clinical analysis.
Given that the commitment to ensure access to free medications for the population is highly important, all mechanisms related to production, prices and availability must be strengthened. Implementing a national pharmaceutical policy implies guaranteeing access to safe, effective and quality medications. Therefore, the objective of the PNF is to guarantee the access to safe, effective and quality medications, that are also cost-effective, in an equitable and effective manner to the national health system, considering the epidemiological reality of the country.
All of us know that the last two years have been a difficult period defined by shortages of medications and materials throughout the entire health sector in Mexico. We have witnessed public demonstrations due to the absence of critically necessary medications, like cancer medications for children. Also, there has been a scarcity of equipment and materials in ICUs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has surpassed by a great deal the installed capacity in the health sector. For these reasons, there has been an incremental and significant loss of human lives in a very short period of time, and also why we were not able to react appropriately.
The importance of the PNF can be appreciated through several benefits:
- From the point of view of the economic and social benefits, we can identify the operational efficiency of processes and resources, the investment in research and development, the management of the supply chain and the generation of universal access to medications while reducing the inequities in their distribution.
- From the point of view of the health benefits, we find the rational and effective usage of medications, with the opportunity to monitor and evaluate policies, and also to support better funding for priority diseases.
- From the point of view of benefits for the growth of the industry, it will generate the opportunity for innovation in medications, the growth of investment in national research and development, making the process for development and licensing smoother, and finally, attracting national and foreign investment for pharma.
The structure for the integral strategy of the PNF is based on seven pillars, the same pillars that have been established by the OMS. Over that same foundation, work tables will be established with all pharmacists in the country, who’s experience is invaluable for achieving the operational strategy, to elaborate the PNF with the objective plotted to one calendar year:
- Investment and innovation
- Selection, affordability and financing
- Supply systems
- Management and rational usage
- Monitoring, evaluation, legislation and quality assurance
- Formation and training
- Ethical culture and commitment
The pharmacists integrated into the national organizations that were summoned have a crucial commitment to the elaboration of this policy; the experts who will be integrated into the different work tables actually work in all the institutions of the government that were summoned as well as in the pharma industry and in research centers. It is also noteworthy to mention that a communication issued by the Netherlands at the Hague on March 25, identified pharmacists as professionals who are systematically named as the most trustworthy in the world, along with educators and finally, scientists. For this reason, it is important to emphasize the following sentence: “Pharmacists, educators, and scientists: That is our pharmaceutical profession,” said the president of the FIP, Dominique Jordan.
We will have the opportunity to demonstrate the pharmaceutical profession’s commitment to the trust placed in it and increase the awareness of the vital role of pharmacists in the betterment of health. In Mexico, we accept this challenge with our involvement in the elaboration of the National Pharmaceutical Policy in benefit of the health of our population.