Scaling Up Healthcare Ideas into Commercial RealitiesBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 09/08/2020 - 09:42
Q: How did your healthcare area grow to become the most important for the company?
A: During my time at the British Embassy in Mexico, I was assigned to the healthcare sector and I took part in the negotiations for the bilateral agreement between Mexico and the UK, which included many healthcare matters. I realized the potential that Mexico has to develop this sector beyond manufacturing by addressing many social issues in regard to healthcare.
Mexico has a strong focus on the three power drivers: government, private sector and academia. But in healthcare, society is a strong actor too. Mexico has patient associations that are active in the country’s decision-making and their importance strengthens every day. In fact, at the beginning of the year, we were able to see how they brought attention to the HIV medicine shortages in Mexico City.
Q: How is SYNELOG helping its clients in Mexico grow and get involved with technology?
A: Mexico has an enormous amount of talent in higher education institutions and research centers. However, there is a barrier to scaling up this talent and ideas into a commercial reality. This is part of the work that SYNELOG has focused on within the country. We are looking forward to transforming those projects into a commercial reality, starting with seed capital and angel investments. This is what drove SYNELOG to learn about the four power drivers within the Mexican healthcare sector. If the four drivers were to work together to boost these projects, this could generate enormous profit in the long run. While this might take years, it is very important to begin now.
Where I see the most potential is within Mexico’s National Institutes of Health. They have attracted the best medical professionals, researchers and also students because they are also academic hospitals, like the National Institute of Public Health and the INCMNSZ. Their leadership has driven me to focus projects on innovative and technological solutions to extend their capacities for diabetes, specifically at INCMNSZ.
SYNELOG has also been involved in creating strategic plans for science and innovation in different Mexican states. We have focused on creating a roadmap so these states can easily identify their areas of opportunity and the companies located in their states that can help to develop these opportunities.
Q: How does SYNELOG encourage public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the sector?
A: SYNELOG offers consultancy to tackle these associations in Mexico and Latin America. Right now we are seeing a boom in Peru to strengthen its hospitals. Additionally, we have participated in studies in different states in Mexico that focus on science parks, which is a trend that has increasingly gained importance in the country and many governors see its innovative potential.
PPPs in Mexico are present mostly in hospital projects. This financial model was useful to grow healthcare infrastructure and face the costs related to security, food or cleaning services, for example. The current federal administration has been reserved about using these associations but it is a matter of time before it realizes the need for such financing models when it designates a very limited budget for the healthcare infrastructure sector.
Q: What potential do you see for PPPs to support the development of medical professionals in Mexico?
A: Medical staff coverage has always been the state’s responsibility, although there could be great potential in better organization between the public and private sectors. COVID-19, just like A H1N1, found Mexico with a lack of medical specialists and I hope Mexico is now well aware of the importance of having those professionals. Moreover, the country must realize that during COVID-19, medical professionals faced extreme burnout due to the unprecedented amount of work they have had for months now. Hopefully, this will result in increased staffing in the future.
Q: With the entrance of USMCA, in which healthcare areas does Mexico have greater opportunities?
A: I see potential for Canada to serve as an example for Mexico in regard to the healthcare sector. Both countries share similar structures, which is an advantage compared to the US, which has a pretty advanced sector but not very applicable examples for Mexico to replicate. We could have some opportunities for cooperation between Mexico and Canada to strengthen the Mexican healthcare sector.
Q: How is SYNELOG participating in the development of a response to COVID-19?
A: I am an intensive international media analyst on the subject of COVID-19 so the work we do starts with filtering information and gathering key insights for the country and the industry. The “infodemia” that stemmed from COVID-19 makes it hard to gather only useful and worthwhile data and as a Counselor to the Healthcare and Life Sciences at the British Chamber of Commerce in Mexico I have to filter and interpret information every day.
We are focusing on bringing COVID-19 PCR and RNA testing to the country and we have developed relationships with the private sector after the government decided not to apply massive COVID-19 testing due to lack of financial resources.
Economic reactivation is a priority for companies. However, they are conscious that this is only possible by ensuring the safety of their collaborators. Because of this, SYNELOG is moving to identify UK test manufacturers and bring more tests for companies.
Q: What are your views as an international healthcare consultant on the government’s decision to purchase medication through the UN?
A: Having the UN intervening in the process is positive because of its status as an international body; it follows many rules of acquisition that can guarantee quality. However, this acquisition is not fair and is unclear. It blocks free competition and misjudges Mexican companies that have worked for years supplying the country and that offer products that comply with all national and international regulatory requirements.
SYNELOG MEXICO SC is an international consulting company dedicated to the development of comprehensive solutions in the health, education, social development, science, technology, innovation and competitiveness sectors