AN OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE
Healthcare has been a top priority in Mexico for the last ten years, with the government working hard to keep its promise
of universal coverage and increased hospital and medical infrastructure throughout the country.
As a testimony to this, Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, openly praised the Mexican government
at the International Forum on Universal Health Coverage in Mexico City on April 2nd, 2012 by stating: "I am pleased to hear
that Mexico is achieving its goal [of universal coverage], with health care available to everyone in the country. This gives
the world an outstanding example of what can be achieved through high-level political commitment."
Ricardo Alvarez Tostado, President and General Director, AstraZeneca Mexico
Under the current system, there are three major institutions. The Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) is the largest
social security institution in Latin America. IMSS covers all formal workers in the private sector, which according to the
latest IMS Health data represents 44.3% of the total population.
The Institute of Health and Social Services (ISSSTE), covers all government workers and represents around 9.8% of the total
population. Recent financial restructuring and cost saving initiatives within both IMSS and ISSSTE have contributed to a strongly
pro-generics attitude within the two health systems.
Thirdly, Seguro Popular was created in 2003 as a type of public insurance scheme to provide health service coverage for Mexicans
not affiliated with any social security institution. Seguro Popular has been the main driver of increased public health coverage,
and the government recently pledged that 80% of state-purchased medicines should be comprised solely of generic drugs.
The Mexican pharma market has always had an historically low generics penetration, and these three initiatives are pushing
it firmly towards a more generics-focused environment.
Although the pharmaceutical industry has expressed its delight at such a noble scheme, the government healthcare systems have
not been without their problems. Many people in the industry feel that when price is the only basis on which to win a government
tender, quality falls into second place.
Hector Carillo, general director of Apotex Mexico, points out that "The government continues to be a good business for us
because supplying on time is becoming increasingly important. When it comes to timely and high quality product delivery, they
know we can do it. But we cannot supply at their requested benchmark prices. They demand the lowest possible pricing from
the market, and while we understand Seguro Popular has a limited budget and is required to look for the lowest possible prices,
Apotex cannot compromise on quality just to get the extra sale."
Héctor Carrillo, General Director, Apotex Mexico
Alongside these pricing concerns are questions over the administrative complexities of Seguro Popular and the fact that it
is run locally across each State in the country. This is causing headaches for pain specialists Grünenthal.