Beyond the bright lights of Mexico City’s Santa Fe and Polanco districts, roughly half of Mexicans lack access to quality healthcare or medicines. This presents a challenge for pharma companies in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). To Miguel Múnera, general manager for Roche Mexico, CSR isn’t just a way to do business—it’s the only way. “You might be able to do good business in the short term without being socially responsible,” he says, “but you will fail in the long term.”

Many players are certainly committed to giving back to Mexican society. Liomont, for example, organizes a nationwide environmental award for high school students; organizes free cleft lip and palate surgeries; and with UNICEF participates in the “Escuela Amiga” program, which provides resources for basic schools in communities of 50 to 100 people in Mexico’s poorest states. “We believe that in order to be truly effective, CSR is something that should come from the heart,” argues Alfredo Rimoch, General Manager of Liomont, who is very much involved in each of the company’s social activities.

Many other local companies are highly involved in CSR. Genomma Lab has a unit dedicated solely to corporate social responsibility. Even a small pharma company such as Suanca is behind the Foundation “Dibujando un mañana” (Drawing Tomorrow), which assists thousands of Mexican kids in distress.

In markets such as Mexico, there are innumerable opportunities for large, medium, and small pharmaceutical firms to develop fresh approaches to CSR. Contributing to society in this way also allows them cooperate among themselves, with the government and the community as a whole.