Quality, Accessible Medicine For Out-Of-Pocket PatientsBy Miriam Bello | Mon, 12/14/2020 - 14:38
Q: What is DILAMEG’s main contribution to the generics industry?
A: Our associates produce more than 2.2 million pieces per year, with revenue totaling MX$2.6 billion (US$116.16 million). In terms of distribution, our associates have 100 percent national coverage, with more than 35,000 points of sale, from independent pharmacies to clinics or large chains. All the products that DILAMEG companies offer are characterized by competitive prices at an average of MX$10.3 (US$0.46) per piece.
Since 2011, all generic medicines in Mexico have complied with bioequivalence standards, meaning that whether it is manufactured by a Big Pharma company or a generics laboratory, the product has the same characteristics and complies with the same requirements established by regulatory authorities in terms of quality, safety and efficacy. Moreover, DILAMEG companies have made the commitment to keeping prices competitive. Our products can offer costs savings of up to 80 percent compared to other generics.
Q: How is DILAMEG approaching the subject of centralized and UNOPS purchases in the public sector?
A: Because DILAMEG companies work 80 percent with the private sector and 20 percent with the public sector, the tender processes and purchasing schemes have not impacted our businesses. As care providers, we do see the logic for those governmental changes and qualify them as positive. However, the lack of administrative control was evident with the shortages the public sector faced due to those changes.
DILAMEG sees this as an opportunity for our products. We are allies to the government and through our fair pricing, we are generating savings and a positive impact for patients. In fact, some of our member companies have participated in UNOPS acquisition processes for Latin American countries. This demonstrates how competitive the national generics industry is. I do see little profitability for companies in Asia to take their products all the way to Mexico as they will face customs and exports prices and strong competition from the national industry that has well-established practices and supply capacity. When UNOPS finishes its market research, it will find many laboratories able to meet the national demand with the most competitive prices.
Q: How is DILAMEG supporting its members regarding the changes COFEPRIS has gone through?
A: More than changing its government ties, I would like to see COFEPRIS strengthen its institutional, economic and human capacities. The commission regulates around MX$6 (US$0.27) of every MX$10 (US$0.45) spent in Mexico. It might be the most important regulator in the country but I have yet to see the government give it the attention it demands. COFEPRIS often faces work overloads, supply shortages or simply capacity struggles due to its importance. Compared to other regulators around the world, COFEPRIS is struggling. I hope Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell realizes this to enable COFEPRIS with more staff, budget and capabilities.
Q: What lessons can the generics industry learn from COVID-19 supply chain disruptions?
A: The pandemic is boosting the national pharmacochemical industry, including API manufacturing. The world faced severe disruptions regarding APIs and many companies are thinking about how to overcome these challenges in the future. For Mexico, pharmacochemical industry manufacturing is an attractive option. The county has companies that have demonstrated their quality and resilience in maintaining supply and business continuity regardless of the pandemic and the regulatory barriers. DILAMEG is looking forward to supporting and participating in the development of this industry as one of our goals is to strengthen the national pharmaceutical industry.
Q: What actions has DILAMEG taken to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico?
A: The generics sector has seen the most growth in the industry during the pandemic. Drugs being used as non-official treatments for COVID-19 cases, such as hydroxychloroquine, are produced by our associates. Additionally, due to changes in social dynamics and the economic impact, many people prefer generic drugs. This has had a positive impact on the market but it has also been beneficial to out-of-pocket patients who understand the quality of generics. None of our members have faced shortages or logistics disruptions despite facing double-digit growth in sales and demand.
I hope this change in dynamics can translate to legislation regarding medical prescriptions. It is common that doctors will prescribe brand medicines instead of a formula. This is a barrier for generics but it also limits the patient’s choice. COVID-19 has highlighted many deficiencies but it can also lead to improvements in pharmacovigilance.
Furthermore, as a result of the growth of the generics market, DILAMEG is looking forward to strengthening the reputation of generic products and to continue promoting the quality and timely deliveries of our member distribution companies.
The National Association of Distributors and Laboratories of Generic Drugs (DILAMEG) promotes safe, effective and quality generic drugs, mainly of national origin, bringing accessibility and health to the population.