Image credits: Gobierno de México
News Article

Young People Most Affected by COVID-19 / More Cancer Drugs

By Paloma Duran | Tue, 07/20/2021 - 11:21

Elections in Peru. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador congratulated the new president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, who won the June 6 elections. “We congratulate the people of Peru because yesterday the electoral authorities of Peru recognized the triumph of the teacher Pedro Castillo Terrones. He is going to be the next president of the Republic of Peru and we wish him good luck.” López Obrador added that it is admirable how the electoral authorities and the Peruvian people defended the popular will and democracy.

June 6 was the second round of the elections in Peru, in which the presidency was disputed between the socialist Castillo of the Free Peru Party and the conservative Keiko Fujimori of the Popular Force Party. The Free Peru Party obtained 50.12 percent of the votes, while the Popular Force Party obtained 49.87 percent. Due to the proximity of the results, Fujimori did not recognize the results and denounced the election as fraudulent. After a month and a half, the electoral juries declared Fujimori’s accusations unfounded and officially gave Castillo the victory.

Third wave affects young and unvaccinated people. Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell explained that the third wave of COVID-19 is affecting the adult population under 52 years of age that has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. “Most of those hospitalized are young and unvaccinated people. The unvaccinated factor predominates in 97 percent of the new contagions.” López-Gatell called on the young population to take care of themselves, since despite having a stronger immune system, there are still serious cases. In addition, López-Gatell gave six recommendations to avoid contagion:

  • If there are symptoms, the person needs to think it is COVID-19.
  • Analysis of blood samples should not be performed.
  • Do not self-medicate.
  • If the person is having trouble breathing, call 911.
  • Check oxygenation.
  • Get vaccinated.

No more strict lockdowns. López-Gatell explained that in the third wave of COVID-19 there will be no strict lockdowns so that the economy can continue improving. However, López-Gatell stressed that the population must respect sanitary measures, especially in public spaces. “Lockdowns will no longer imply absolute closures, as happened at the beginning of the pandemic. On Friday, we presented the initiative to modify certain aspects of the epidemiological traffic light. Now, the color red no longer implies absolute closures.”

Government purchases medicines and medical supplies. Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer announced that the Mexican government had purchased 197 million medicines and medical supplies. Alcocer explained that everything was purchased through the UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS) at a lower price. “As of today, there are 995 contracts, which are for 693 medicines and 345 curative materials. These represent an expense of US$2.1 billion.” Alcocer added that some drugs could not be purchased because the suppliers did not meet the requirements; however, he assured that the government and UNOPS are already looking for alternatives.

 In 2019, López Obrador’s government decided to change its method of obtaining medicines and medical supplies, in addition to banning the main distributors, which it said held monopolies in the sector. With this new policy, a serious shortage of medicines began, especially in public hospitals, which was exacerbated by the pandemic.

More medicines for children with cancer. Alcocer announced that new drugs for children with cancer had been obtained thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassies of France, Argentina, Germany, Canada, India, Cuba and South Korea. A total of 132 oncological drug codes were acquired, for a total of MX$11.81 billion (US$585 million). “Cancer drugs have been among the most difficult drugs to obtain for decades. The interest in the purchase of these drugs is very valid but it has been exaggerated and used for other purposes."

For months, parents of children with cancer have protested to demand more cancer drugs. The cancer drug shortage worsened in 2019 when López Obrador changed the country’s drug purchasing methods and said pharmaceutical companies and hospital managers were responsible for the shortage. In early July, the government distributed 30,000 cancer drugs after a strong protest that blocked the Mexico City International Airport.

Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Gobierno de México, Milenio
Photo by:   Gobierno de México
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst