Companies scammed the health sector for 20 years

The current government has launched a war against corrupt suppliers but it has affected patients

Companies scammed the health sector for 20 years
Several companies have incurred in obscure deals that affected the treasury - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/03/2020 10:08 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 10:15
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Documents obtained by this newspaper show several suppliers, previously hired by the health ministry, intermittently plotted to obtain benefits and scam the treasury in the last 20 years, generating losses for almost MXN $400 million

The collusion took place through a series of monopolistic practices including premeditated agreements in order to hide or not supply services or products, this way, suppliers could press for an increase in prices by arguing that there are shortages. In other cases, journalists found that one of the suppliers set one of its products at a premium that doubles the real price. All this took place while the government was looking to cut costs by purchasing a large volume of products through open tenders.

The companies involved argue that they are one of the few suppliers that have agreed to work with a government that imposes measures that the majority of producers and distributors are not willing to accept because they consider the deals would generate losses and not gains.

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Although this happened in relation to producers and distributors of sanitary products that are necessary but not essential, something similar happens with the companies that supply drugs and treatments for patients suffering from serious illnesses.

We have to acknowledge that there has been corruption in the health sector and that fraud and dishonest practices have been uncovered but it is evident that there is a delay in the purchases that are endangering the health of Mexicans, a situation sparked by the fight against corruption; however, the fight to eradicate this crime has been improvised and disorganized, without any previous planning or research that studied how this would affect patients.

Nowadays, with a latent epidemiological risk sparked by the COVID-19, the government will have to leave suspicions, technicalities, and legal voids to act fast and be ready to handle the situation.

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