Cristobal Thompson is the Executive Director at AMIIF (Asociacion Mexicana de Industrias de Investigacion Farmaceutica). The AMIIF represents more than 60 global companies with the aim of contributing to improving health in Mexico through innovative medicine. In this article, Thompson outlines the country’s challenges to the healthcare system and the pharma industries commitment to support it.
The greatest challenge, however, as Mexico’s current government has pointed out, is providing healthcare to close to twenty million people who are currently not affiliated to any provider.
The pharmaceutical sector is a generator of healthcare solutions. In Mexico, it has worked hard to be a proactive ally of the National Health System.
Our health system has traditionally been focused on evaluating the quality of its services in relation to easily measurable data: How many doctors and nurses are available per person? How many hospitals are in the system? How many medical procedures are done and prescriptions filled? But these indicators don’t allow us to evaluate real results in relation to health.
Facing unavoidable demographic changes (an ageing population), as well as epidemiological changes (chronic illnesses on the rise), it is essential that we bet on result-based health strategies to achieve a more healthy and sustainable future. The health system must expand its measurements to include, besides quantitative indicators, others of greater qualitative reach such as — access and quality of healthcare, effectiveness and efficiency of therapeutic options, and therapeutic control of patients. Generating these indicators will allow health authorities to measure the impact that individuals’ health has on their communities in social, educational, economic, and employment (absenteeism, presenteeism, and early retirement) terms. These measurements will enable the development of health strategies that respond to the needs of different sectors of society. This is one of the great challenges the National Health System faces.
The greatest challenge, however, as Mexico’s current government has pointed out, is providing healthcare to close to twenty million people who are currently not affiliated to any provider. The federal government’s proposal has opened the possibility for every Mexican citizen to have access to the treatment they need the moment they need it.
In this scenario, throughout 2019 the pharmaceutical research and development industry in Mexico will continue to focus on our strong commitment to support effective access to healthcare for the entire population. We will continue investing in research and development (in 2016, investment was around six billion pesos) in areas relevant to Mexico (in 2016 the main research areas were oncology, metabolism and endocrinology, rheumatology and traumatology, cardiology, and infectious and parasitic diseases) and we will continue to seek alliances to face problems like antimicrobial resistance and to improve timely diagnosis and adequate treatment.
Health is a social equalizer, which is why strengthening institutions, homogenizing quality healthcare, ensuring sufficient and qualified human resources, strengthening information systems, and providing indicators that measure the sector’s performance are important opportunities. We are all patients at some point of our lives, so effective access to healthcare services is a responsibility we all share.