State of the Sector: From Structural Reforms to COVID-19By Miriam Bello | Wed, 01/27/2021 - 11:23
“The current healthcare system has grown ineffective over the years,” Patrick Devlyn, President of the Health Commission at CCE, stated on Wednesday, Jan. 27, during the opening conference of Mexico Health Summit 2021. Devlyn exposed the current state of the Mexican health industry in the face of a pandemic, coupled with public reforms that impacted both the public and private sector.
Devlyn reflected that it is key for Mexico to prioritize healthcare. “Before COVID-19, it was clear that Mexico had to reformulate its approach to health from a fixing scheme to a preventive one. We can no longer live with this heavy burden of chronic diseases,” he said.
Among the main challenges the sector has gone through, Devlyn highlights the following:
- Lack of incentives for doctors, research, infrastructure projects and investment.
- Low investment in the sector, which reflected in public health performance and negative economic outcomes for out-of-pocket patients.
- The impact of economic reforms that is still not being measured.
- A fragmented public health system, which is a challenge to navigate in and makes it even more complex to coexist with the private sector.
- The establishment of INSABI to replace Seguro Popular, despite the latter’s palpable effects.
At the same time, Mexico is going through significant changes and reforms. Devlyn addressed the changes to the medicine purchasing schemes, which impacted the integral logistics services for medicine intribution. The government began purchasing medicine from laboratories directly, which generated further challenges. In addition, the government established a single consolidated purchase, which means states could no longer prioritize their epidemiological profile nor destine budget for their individual health priorities. Meanwhile, more actors are now involved in the purchasing process, including the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, the Administrative Office and the Ministry of Health.
The government also enacted changes to the LAASSP, opening the door to acquiring medicines through UNOPS, which generated much uncertainty among suppliers that could no longer plan their stock, investment or time of production. Authorized third parties have also been limited in their functions, which has increased approval times from COFEPRIS. Finally, many projects under a public-private association scheme have been cancelled.
“Regardless of whether we agree with these changes, we need to properly base them on the understanding of a positive impact for people’s well-being,” says Devlyn “If not, they will end up damaging the population and their health.”
According to Devlyn, the private sector can play a significant role in helping the government achieve its goals, “which could therefore prosperity over time.” Moreover, Devlyn encouraged the use of technology as a key element in the new normality following COVID-19. “Tech can empower both sides, doctors and patients, and it can effectively promote prevention strategies”.
To conclude, Devlyn highlighted the future opportunities of the healthcare sector following COVID-19.
1. Establishment of triple-helix research centers, which have the potential to generate innovation and development, helping Mexico to move beyond manufacturing.
2. Public and private sector collaboration. “Seeing us as enemies will never detonate investment nor foment technology,” he said.
3. Reimagining public-private investment to bring effective, efficient and universal primary, secondary and third level care.