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Pharmaceutical Innovation Can be Generated Through Collaboration

Rafael Gual - CANIFARMA
Director General


Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 03/15/2023 - 11:00

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Q: What are the objectives of CANIFARMA’s Strategic Meeting of the Right to Health and Communication Commissions 2023? 

A: CANIFARMA regularly meets with its different commissions to plan for future strategic meetings with our Board of Directors to delineate a development program for the pharmaceutical industry. This program will later be enriched by the work of other actors in the sector such as CONCAMIN, COPARMEX and FunSalud. In this way, the private sector will be able to offer a comprehensive proposal to the government. 

Our commissions are: Regulatory Affairs and Innovation, Right to Health and Communication, Foreign Trade and Operations, and Supply and Security. Besides, we have two sections which are Medical Devices and Veterinary Pharmaceutical Industry.

Q: How has the healthcare sector been affected by the absence of strong synergies between the public and private sectors? 

A: Patients have been switching from the public sector to the private due to the lack of planning and adequate execution of public procurement processes for a timely supply of medicines in public institutions. Patients are suffering from dire medicine shortages and it is also affecting people's pockets.

The pharmaceutical industry in Mexico is the most important in Latin America. Mexico’s pharmaceutical sector continues to export to Central and South America, which has allowed it to experience significant growth. Pharmaceutical companies established in Mexico cover about 92% of the local demand, as imported products are mainly highly specialized medicines that might be only manufactured in one place in the world. 

Q: What approach would CANIFARMA recommend to government administrations to solve  medicine supply?

A: We seek to present a comprehensive proposal that will help the health sector to recover. The patient is, and must always be, at the center of our efforts. The industry would be ready and more than willing  to return to a model in which companies could participate in tenders through distributors. This model was not supported at the beginning of this presidential administration. However, it guaranteed co-responsibility for delivering medicines. This model is making a comeback and this year’s tenders will include supply for 2023 and 2024. While this model has some problems, steps are being taken to correct them.

Q: What progress has been made to increase Mexico’s consolidation and growth as a pharmaceutical innovation hub? 

A: Innovation is an area with great potential in Mexico, as the country has the capacity to generate an investment of about US$500 million. IMSS has 70 million affiliates, which makes it the largest healthcare institute in the world and it could take advantage of this capacity to do clinical research. But to achieve this goal, the country needs regulatory agility. For example, if another regulatory body, such as the FDA, has already approved a clinical protocol, Mexico could approve it faster. Often, the country loses opportunities because it takes months to approve a clinical protocol. To take advantage of Mexico’s potential, political will is required.

Q: How is CANIFARMA collaborating with academia?

A: Academia has a key role in the sector and our development program seeks to include it. The current dean of UNAM’s School of Medicine is also the president of the National Academy of Medicine and has a good relationship with the different sectors that make up the value chain, including the pharmaceutical industry. We need to create synergies and through collaboration with academia, we can build a more robust proposal for future governments. 

Q: How will the Ethics and Transparency Council of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CETIFARMA) support the development of the sector?

A: This Council is an important asset for the health sector, not just for the pharmaceutical industry. Founded in 2005 at the initiative of the pharmaceutical industry, the Council is an independent body that follows the code of ethics that the industry defined. All the companies that participate in CANIFARMA must join CETIFARMA and commit to complying with this code of ethics. This body ensures that the code of ethics is strictly observed. Few industrial sectors are as robust on ethics as pharmaceutical companies in Mexico.

Q: With the growth in e-commerce, how difficult has it become to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit medicines? 

A: Alongside the authorities, we launched a key campaign to generate awareness of the multiple dangers of illegally consuming psychotropic drugs. We also seek to promote the acquisition of medicines at established pharmacies, not on the street or on the Internet as they might be offered by unauthorized sellers. The industry has undertaken significant efforts to fight counterfeit products, which pose a great risk since they will not solve the problem and can often aggravate the health condition of the patient.

Q: What will CANIFARMA prioritize throughout 2023?

A: The relationship with the government is fundamental from a regulatory and a supply perspective. We aim to consolidate a development program and are also working with INEGI to build a compendium of the pharmaceutical industry. We have many planned milestones on the way that will keep us busy.


The National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CANIFARMA) is an industry organization that works to strengthen Mexico’s sanitary regulations, R&D and economic development.

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