Fighting Corruption in Mexican Pharma


Cristobal Thompson of the AMIIF examines the steps forward that Mexican pharma has made in countering corruption, the areas in which urgent improvement is still needed, and outlines the three key reasons why fighting corrupt practices is so important.


The pharmaceutical industry must act according to value-based codes, building trust with society

A Long Road to Travel

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), 2019 will be the year in which “young people will turn the tide against corruption”. In Davos in January, accountability for everything from global and local corporations to governmental administration were key topics of discussion.

Mexico still has a long road to travel in this regard. The OECD recently made an urgent recommendation for the country to enhance the implementation of its National Anticorruption System (NAS). Mexico needs to strengthen measures around its Anti-Money Laundering System, corporate criminal liability, the detection of foreign bribery cases and the allocation of resources for investigating and prosecuting them, and whistle-blower protection for private and public sector employees.


Strides Forward

In terms of pharmaceuticals, Mexico has, however, made some strides forward in mobilising civil society against corruption. For example:

  1. The establishment of the Council of Ethics and Transparency of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CETIFARMA), a governing body responsible for promoting an ethical culture and monitoring compliance with the provisions of this code and of all self-governance and self-monitoring instruments. CETIFARMA is responsible for receiving complaints, resolving disputes, publishing results, and applying sanctions.
  2. The establishment of Codes of Conduct for the Pharmaceutical Industry in Mexico in 2006.
  3. The establishment of various NGOs and associations, including
    1. Transparencia Mexicana, which represents Transparency International in Mexico. Mexico is currently ranked 138th of 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index.
    2. Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (MCCI), a non-profit association.


Why Fight Corruption?

Without a doubt, corruption must be fought. The first reason for this is because it is the right thing to do. The pharmaceutical industry must act according to value-based codes, building trust with society.

The second reason is because it has been proven that values-based organizations are not just better for the world, but also more profitable in the long-term. Every day, more and more people are deciding to work for, and consume products made by, companies based upon their ethical performance.

The third reason is because corruption leads to waste and the inefficient use of public resources which excludes poorer people from public services, such as healthcare. A recent WEF report found that international corruption is costing the global economy USD 3.6 billion every year.

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