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Public-Private Alliances Key to Well-Being, Economic Development

Patrick Devlyn - CCE
President of the Health Commission


Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 09:30

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Q: What opportunities can Mexico take advantage of to position its healthcare sector in North America? 

A: The three members of the USMCA form the largest economic bloc in the world. The pandemic highlighted the importance of having key suppliers as close to the border as possible. It also opened up new opportunities, such as nearshoring, which is being taken advantage of by the pharmaceutical, medical devices and health supply industries. Numerous opportunities are emerging to increase supply to the region, which could help Mexico increase its export capacities and approach those of India or China. 

There are also areas to improve, such as the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and the homologation of standards between COFEPRIS and the FDA, which would allow COFEPRIS to act as a trigger to attract innovation. Mexico also needs to exploit the opportunity that medical tourism represents. Health services are highly expensive in the US and Canada so Mexico can offer these services in a less expensive and more effective way.

Q: What are the main lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic that Mexico must capitalize on? 

A: The pandemic affected all countries. Some were more prepared than others but none was ready to face such a large problem. In Mexico, the pandemic taught us that we cannot allow healthcare to be politically polarized because it is a constitutional right of all Mexicans. There is an access gap for a large percentage of the population and many things need to be done to address it but the budget is not there. The pandemic taught us that the public and private sectors need to work together and involve civil society in health issues to address this problem. 

We must work to facilitate interoperability across public institutions and in implementing an agile and efficient policy for the subrogation of infrastructure and medical personnel in the private sector. Moreover, prevention must be approached from a comprehensive perspective and not unilaterally. Health must be part of the education curriculum, investing today to reap the benefits tomorrow.

Q: CCE is committed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) pertaining to health. Given the progress lost during the sanitary crisis, iIs the 2030 Agenda attainable?

A: We cannot give up. We plan to double our efforts since advances in healthcare translate to economic development. The SDGs do not depend solely on the government; the private sector also has a great deal of responsibility. More companies and organizations, such as CCE, are implementing initiatives to improve the health of their employees, developing prevention programs and incorporating good practices with suppliers and customers. 

IMSS is also investing in different services to provide better care, such as the Safe and Healthy Work Environments (ELSSA) program. In addition, the institute installed first-level care phone lines with health professionals from different branches for the detection, control and timely care of diseases. While the challenge is significant, the private sector is committed to achieving these objectives.

Q: You have previously mentioned that Mexico must move beyond manufacturing to research. On which topics should research focus?

A: While manufacturing generates employment and investment, the greatest added value comes from R&D as it leads to new discoveries and can cure diseases, potentially improving the well-being and economic development of a country. We must invest in clinical studies because they will accelerate access to innovation and bring more benefits to the Mexican population. We must also promote the API industry in Mexico so the economic bloc does not depend on India and China. To do so, we need to unify criteria with COFEPRIS so the organization becomes a facilitator of development and not an inhibitor.

Q: What is necessary to develop the right talent so Mexico can become an innovation hub? 

A: Mexico’s epidemiological profile is not aligned to its education plans and the volume of students is very low, creating a gap in talent. It is essential to act now through policy so that progress is not further delayed. The issuance of new industrial policy has given us hope but work must continue to increase clinical studies in the country. Worldwide, about US$20 billion are invested in clinical studies and US$500 million could be invested in Mexico if COFEPRIS transformed its processes. 

Q: What are CCE’s main objectives for 2023? 

A: We plan to focus on our strategic agenda, which is based on six pillars. The first is to define and implement a comprehensive prevention policy and support it with investment and a trans-sexennial vision. The second is to focus on prioritizing care at the first level of contact, which is where 80 percent of health issues are resolved, and promoting innovative models for second- and third-level care. Third, we will continue to promote investment in the public sector so that, with the collaboration of the private sector, it is easier to close the gap in access to health. The fourth is working on measuring the real impact of public policy so that managers, health professionals and patients can make better decisions. The fifth pillar is our work to facilitate the adoption of technology and the implementation of digital health to reduce fragmentation. Finally, the private sector is in favor of universal health coverage since we recognize health as a fundamental right of Mexicans.

There are also large areas of opportunity, including resuming public-private collaboration, strengthening the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and planning public bidding processes from a strategic approach. Good practices in vaccination and healthcare should also be resumed. To improve the well-being of Mexicans, the public and private sectors need to start working together to materialize tangible advances.


The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) coordinates the policies and actions of businesses and contributes to the design of public policies to increase economic growth.

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