Shortage of medicines (I) – El Financiero

In the book 2018. The exit (Planeta, 2017), seen as a roadmap for what the current six-year term would be, Andrés Manuel López Obrador makes six, only six, references to health. He does not dedicate a single chapter, not even one of the 274 pages, to this issue, which will be remembered as one of the great setbacks of his government, and one of the ones that has the most consequences for people.

And when López Obrador began his term, he decided two things: the cancellation of Seguro Popular, to replace it with the Institute of Health for Well-being, which would start in January 2020; and the change (it would be necessary to say extinction) in the model of acquisition and distribution of medicines, which caused the most serious shortage of medicines in memory.

Even if the pandemic ends, the headaches for Mexican families due to the changes implemented by Andrés Manuel will not dissipate with the end of the massive Covid-19 infections. In our country, it will not be possible to recover, at all, a dynamic where surgeries are rescheduled normally or consultations end with people going home with medications.

As several journalists and researchers have been reporting, the shortage was caused by the decision to eliminate the consolidated purchase of medicines and entrust it to the Mayor’s Office of the Treasury, then in charge of Raquel Buenrostro, current head of the SAT.

This included that, as research by Zero Impunity and Just Justice ( and the recently published book The tragedy of the shortage, by Xavier Tello, the President issued an order on March 20, 2019 prohibiting three companies – Fármacos Especializados SA de CV, MAYPO and Distribuidora Internacional de Medicinas y Equipo Médico SA de CV – from participating in tenders or awarding of medicines in the sector Health.

The President complained that there was undue concentration, but caused the effects of the irresponsible presidential decision to begin to be felt in the second half of 2019, which Tello illustrates in this way: “The government decided to take the heart out of the patient without even having a donor. ”.

Sofía Charvel and Fernanda Cobo, for their part, last November published in Free lyrics another overview of the shortage. Under the provocative title of The State is responsible, the authors point out that “the situation is such that in the last three years citizens have been forced to litigate to defend their right to health against the State and thus obtain medicines, vaccines and medical care.”

They also point out that there are three “areas in which the State, due to improvisation, lack of expertise in the matter and weakening of the public health system, has put the health of Mexicans at risk: the modification of the supply and distribution system of medicines and supplies, the disappearance of Seguro Popular and the response to Covid-19″.

On the shortage in particular, last October in the magazine links, Yessica Corral and Andrés Castañeda Pardo published data from the IMSS that make it clear how, as of September 2019, the number of unfilled prescriptions goes from less than 250,000 per month to more than 2 million in January or February 2020, and until July of 2021 they did not drop below one and a half million prescriptions without filling.

Despite the few references to health, in 2018. The exit, AMLO promised that we would be like Denmark; but in three years he has not been able to even with the supply of medicines. Perhaps he should have devoted more reading and writing to the subject.

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