USMCA will increase medicine prices in Mexico

Mexico's pharmaceutical labs have anticipated a strong blow to household economy in the country

USMCA will increase medicine prices in Mexico
AMELAF is confident that Mexico’s upcoming government will seek to support the population with low-priced medicines and help national pharmaceuticals - Photo: William Vazquez/AP
English 04/10/2018 13:30 Miguel Pallares Mexico City Actualizada 13:35
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The Mexican Association of Pharmaceutical Labs (AMELAF) has anticipated a severe blow to household economy in the country and an impact of up to MXN$15 billion on health institutions for the next five years after the conclusion of the trilateral United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“We think that it was indeed a bargaining chip. Broadening data protection will represent a surcharge for biotechnology products, notably oncological ones (to treat cancer) and anti-retrovirals (for HIV),” stated Juan de Villafranca, executive manager of AMELAF.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the representative of 25 labs, 32 plants, and 30 thousand collaborators at a national scale called for an intervention of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador to avoid an impact on the population and Mexican pharmaceutical companies.

“This is a matter on which we need to tread lightly. Once the agreement is signed, it is passed on to the Senate for thorough revision. If we have 10 years of data protection ahead of us, we need to read between the lines. From a legal standpoint, there is no clarity in Mexico regarding the reach of this measure and the subject of data protection.

“AMELAF is confident that Mexico’s upcoming government will seek to support the population with low-priced medicines and help national pharmaceuticals. We need to find a way to overcome this. At some point, if we submit to 10 years of strict conditions and data protection, the upcoming government will have to offer a creative solution,” he stressed.

Juan de Villafranca, once ambassador of Mexico in Singapore and head of patents, brands, and technological development at the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), requested for clear rules regarding public health, as well as a thorough revision of the potential impact of these regulations on the Mexican society.

“This represents a harsh impact because it will cost the public sector a surcharge of between 13 and 15 billion pesos, an amount that could be used for a great deal of things. These resources are required for the stability and efficiency of public health institutions. Without health, the country cannot move forward,” he added.

According to AMELAF, Mexicans should have easy access to generic medicines and the 20-year patent that is currently in place to protect new drugs is enough for pharmaceuticals to make important profits; however, some of the larger patent companies have found mechanisms to block the arrival of generic medicines.

The Mexican Association of Pharmaceutic Research Industries (AMIIF), which represents foreign multinationals, stated that the agreement clarified the legal concept of data protection and confirmed that the duration of patents was of 10 years for biotechnological drugs.


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