The UN helps Mexico to end medicine shortages

Mexico will no longer purchase medicines from national companies and suppliers

The UN helps Mexico to end medicine shortages
The United Nations is helping Mexico to establish consolidated medicine purchases abroad - Photo: Víctor Pichardo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/07/2020 09:01 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:08

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The Mexican government, through the intervention of Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Mexico’s ambassador before the United Nations, has committed to ending medicine shortages in the country through consolidated medicine purchases from foreign countries with the help and supervision of the UN.

Moreover, the government has reiterated its promise to provide free medicines, although the mechanisms that will be used for this purpose or which part of the population will enter the program are still unclear. 

Finally acknowledging a problem that was previously dismissed could represent a final solution to medicine shortages, a problem that has affected patients for a long time. This is an opportunity to end corruption in the sector, although it is also true that the previous governments can not be blamed for all shortages or irregularities. 

Nevertheless, once the announcement was made, the Mexican government said that while corrupt practices persist, it will not purchase medicines from national producers and distributors since it plans to cover up to 80% medicine purchases through imports. 

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This announcement brands all Mexican companies as fraudulent and on the other hand, it will have an important effect on workers employed by this sector. This will result in unemployment during a time when formal jobs must be preserved. 

Fighting fraudulent practices among national medicine suppliers while asking for help from UN agencies guarantees that corruption will come to an end, but authorities must consider that purchasing medicines abroad will harm the national pharmaceutical industry and might even lead to the closure of several companies that depend on the purchases made by the government.

Mexican authorities must review cases by case and find the companies that have incurred in corrupt practices to cancel any contract and agreement with them; however, it should not affect the whole sector and prevent national pharmaceutical companies to replace corrupt companies by arguing that foreign companies will do a better job. It is time to protect employment. 

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