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Weekly Roundups

Tech, Science Reforms Seek Approval

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:13

Changes to global and local health systems are demonstrating the hunger for progress and improvement. This week, Mexico’s Supreme Court addressed changes to the General Health Law, while WHO called for stricter limits on air pollution due to its impact on health.

Here is the week in health!

Reforms in the General Health Law Invalidated

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation invalidated the figure of conscientious objection for medical personnel in the General Health Law. This figure allowed doctors to refuse to perform medical procedures that went against their moral or religious beliefs. Supreme Court Ministers considered that the legislation is ambiguous since it does not establish clear limits, which must now be specified.

After this decision, Ministers urged Congress to correct the law to establish sufficient limits to guarantee that the exercise of this right does not affect others, mainly women’s abortion rights.

Lower Prescription Drug Prices Initiative Fails in the US

A plan from the Democratic Party to lower US prescription drug prices, which is part of its US$3.5 trillion social policy package, was struck down by a House committee after moderates from that same party refused to support it, reports the New York Times. US President Joe Biden aimed to grant Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices and for pharmaceutical companies to face penalties if they raise prices above inflation. According to the New York Times, “drug makers will pressure House members whose districts depend on their jobs and profits.”

Environmental Concerns Enhance Health Problems

WHO called for stricter limits of air pollution as it causes over 7 million deaths per year. According to Tedros Adhanom, Director General of WHO, “New data has shown how air pollution affects all parts of the body, from the brain to the growing baby in the womb, and in even at lower concentrations than previously observed."

COVID-19 Vaccine Scientists Awarded

Developers of the first emergency and fully approved COVID-19 vaccine, Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin, Co-founders of BioNTech, have been awarded Germany’s highest prize of medicine “Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize 2022.” They will receive the price on March next year.

Innovations to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease  

World Alzheimer’s day took place this week. This is a fatal disease that affects around 350,000 Mexicans per year and has no cure but numerous companies are advancing therapies and technological solutions to manage it. Learn more about these efforts in this article.

Prevention Efforts to Reduce Teenage Pregnancies

This week, countries in Latin America are promoting the prevention of teenage pregnancy. The region has the second highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world, warns PAHO, which has radical effects on girls’ life trajectories, psychosocial development and contributes to poor health outcomes. Learn more about the health affectations and initiatives to enhance prevention on this article.

Experts of the Week

  • Marlene Llópiz, CEO of CRO Mexicana, shared her views and perspective of Mexico’s pharmaceutical industry, which has strong economic potential.
  • PROSPERiA’s team Cristina Campero, Alejandro Noriega and Abelardo Vidaurreta discussed the company’s use of AI to create diagnosis algorithms to prevent blindness caused by diabetes. Additionally, they have developed a support tool to analyze retina’s images captured with a specialized fundus camera.
  • Enrique Culebro, Founder and General Director of the digital agency Central Media, discussed their innovative approach and how it responds to the new digital era.
  • Iván Encalada, Vice President of the Mexican Council of Orthopedics and Traumatology (CMOT), addressed the new ways to provide care during COVID-19 and how will the pandemic transform the future of medical attention.
  • Karel Fucikovsky, Director of Medical Care Mexico of Pierre Fabre Pharma, explained how the political environment of Mexico is impacting healthcare and health outcomes.
  • Jorge Valdéz, Dean of TecSalud (Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty of the Monterrey Institute of Technology), shared the role of medical schools to transform their communities and, in this process, they are encouraging students and teachers to be agents of change.
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst