12 | NOV | 2019
Mexican official resigns as HIV drug shortage sparks outcry
The government announced the purchasing reform in March as part of a plan to centralize spending and eradicate corruption - Photo: Tercero Díaz/CUARTOSCURO.COM

Mexican official resigns as HIV drug shortage sparks outcry

11/05/2019
12:47
Reuters
Mexico City
Oscar López
-A +A
Carlos Magis confirmed that he had quit his job as director of comprehensive care at the national HIV/AIDS agency, Censida

A top Mexican health official said on Thursday that he had resigned amid growing anger over drug shortages that have left hundreds of HIV patients without life-saving medicines.

Carlos Magis confirmed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation and local media outlets via text message that he had quit his job as director of comprehensive care at the national HIV/AIDS agency, Censida, but declined to give further details.

Magis also said the government had now begun buying HIV drugs after a shift in responsibility for purchasing from health authorities to the finance ministry led to medicine shortages.

“The commitment of Censida staff in the purchase (of medicines) is absolute and we work on whatever needs to be worked on,” Magis said in a text message late Wednesday.

The government announced the purchasing reform in March as part of a plan to centralize spending and eradicate corruption.

Activists said this week that hundreds of Mexicans living with HIV may have gone without life-saving treatment for weeks. as a result of delays in buying and distributing drugs.

About 220,000 people in Mexico have HIV, according to 2016 figures from the United Nations, and 97,000 are receiving treatment through a government health program.

Government health experts, academics and activists published an open letter online on Wednesday endorsing the government’s goal to improve drug purchasing.

The letter noted the need to “guarantee not only universal access to treatment of (HIV) infection, but also the optimization of costs and the simplification of treatment programs”.

It said Mexico buys antiretroviral drugs at a higher price than any other Latin American country, spending over $150 million last year.

“What we want is for the government to take back the power to buy drugs at better prices, to buy fewer drugs at better prices, and to buy better drugs,” said health campaigner Angel Candia, one of the signatories.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December vowing to fight poverty and inequality, has urged pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices or risk losing out on government business to competitors.

But some advocates expressed that finance concerns could overshadow the needs of those living with HIV.

“We’re not against these proposals,” Luis Adrián Quiroz, a prominent HIV activist told reporters.

“(But) what we have to think about is how we improve the care for all of us living with HIV.”
 

Artículo

Drug buying plan leaves hundreds without HIV treatment in Mexico

Mexico’s health ministry said on Monday that it would address the lack of HIV drugs
Drug buying plan leaves hundreds without HIV treatment in MexicoDrug buying plan leaves hundreds without HIV treatment in Mexico

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