A United Response From the Healthcare Industry in MexicoBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 06/23/2020 - 12:40
Governments’ responses to the COVID-19 global pandemic had to be quick and flexible, with the healthcare industry as a cornerstone for success. WHO developed a technical guideline for decision-makers in the industry to ensure the continuity of care, while freeing up resources for the COVID-19 response and ensuring that health workers could deliver the care required.
Mexico Business News has spoken with key industry leaders to learn how they are contributing to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Within the pharmaceutical industry, Executive Director of AMIIF Cristóbal Thomson has said a priority for the association is to ensure medicine supply by working alongside authorities “None of AMIIF’s member’s plants have stopped working during the pandemic as medicine supply must continue.” When asking about the efforts of the pharmaceutical industry during the pandemic, Thomson said that “the current efforts are unprecedented. The industry has been speaking of the importance of innovation and clinical research and we wanted to increase our investment in this area.” Moreover, he highlighted that many AMIIF members are global leaders in the vaccine race and participating in trials on existent medicines that could work as a treatment against COVID-19.
MBN had the chance to ask Pfizer, one of the global leaders in the vaccine race, about the company’s work on the subject. President and Country Manager Constanza Losada explained that “Pfizer is developing a vaccine for COVID-19 in collaboration with BioNTech. The vaccine is based on Messenger RNA, an innovative technology that allows a quicker evaluation process and faster mass production. Phase 1/2 have been approved and the clinical trial is underway with up to 360 healthy individuals in the US.” Losada also spoke about the importance of ensuring global access, saying that the company is “expanding its manufacturing network so we can produce the vaccine quickly if our studies are successful.”
While vaccine development is ready, alternative treatments are being put under clinical trials to try to help COVID-19 patients. Hydroxychloroquine has been one of the drugs showing positive impacts on patients and Novartis was quick to collaborate in this situation. On an exclusive interview with Fernando Cruz, Country President of Novartis Mexico, he explained that “Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard announced Novartis’ second contribution to the fight against the pandemic, which was the donation of hydroxychloroquine. This is being used as a malaria and lupus treatment in other markets, but it demonstrated positive preliminary results in clinical studies on treating COVID-19. Moreover, in Mexico we were able to articulate a donation that will allow 20,000 patients to receive treatment through a clinical protocol implemented by the INCMNSZ.”
Hospital response is also among the primary concerns during the pandemic, to which Médica Sur adapted quickly. The President of the Hospital said that Médica Sur developed a protocol based on the authority’s recommendations. Moreover, he explained that the hospital dedicated a separate area of the hospital to attend COVID-19 cases. “We took this decision based on the patients we already have at the hospital and to also provide the proper attention to COVID-19 patients during the crisis.”
MBN also spoke with Dräger, a key provider of ventilators, about its contributions to public hospitals. Managing Director Pablo Bufano explained how they have been working alongside IMSS and INSABI “to check on their existing equipment. We have been quick to react and provide the proper maintenance.”
Collaborative responses from all sectors of the industry have been outstanding. However, medical staff are the ones at the frontline of the pandemic. Recognizing their actions, German Fajardo, Director of the UNAM School of Health Sciences, said “the response of all medical staff and workers on the frontline of the pandemic is something that all Mexicans should be proud of. They have been an example of commitment and action for the patient. Every medical staff member has demonstrated their true vocation for human life and service; they have kept going and serving even when they lacked proper supplies.”