When it comes to its health industry, Mexico is at a crossroads between technological advances, its aging population, the rise of expensive chronic diseases and the need for public institutions to quickly respond to this context. “Health insurance covers only 4 percent of major medical expenses policies in Mexico. This means that families have to pay the rest out of pocket, which can be a challenge for a large segment of the population,” Xavier Valdez, General Manager Mexico and Central America of QuintilesIMS, told Mexico Health Summit 2017 on Thursday. “The country’s healthcare system needs to coordinate itself better to properly address these types of issues.”
During the event at the Hotel Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City, Valdéz said that Latin America is one of the largest emerging regions with significant growth potential in the industry. “Mexico is the second-biggest market in the region after Brazil, representing a total value of US$11-12 billion dollars. The industry is being impacted by the rise of cancer, heart disease and chronic diseases that diminish the population’s quality of life.” To take advantage of the sector’s potential, the country needs to change its healthcare model to optimize collaboration between the public and private sectors. A possible area of opportunity could be data management, as the public sector has little capacity to collect information, Valdéz said.
In 2017, the health budget per capita in IMSS was MX$3,000, PEMEX was at MX$17,381, and Seguro Popular at MX$1,203. “We need to analyze the costs and the number of people using these services to integrate the system more efficiently. The country has yet to adapt its healthcare system to the demographic context it encompasses.”
Along with optimizing budgets, Valdéz emphasized the need to increase Mexico’s participation in clinical trials. “In 2016, worldwide investment in clinical trials was US$162.9 billion. Of this share, Latin America invested a total of US$6.2 billion while Mexico only invested US$199.4 million.”
While public institutions need to work on updating an outdated system, QuintileIMS has found that the main companies showing growth in the pharmaceutical sector are regional and national companies. Multinational companies are not growing as quickly in the country because their products are pricier and are directed more toward institutions. He predicts a rise in generic products in the short term as many patents around the world are set to expire. “Non-original products benefit the country because they allow more Mexicans to have access to medication and to continue their treatments.”
Valdéz urged the health industry in Mexico to work together to improve data management and to increase collaboration with insurance companies. “Only 8-9 million people in the country have access to private health insurance. Creating a better alliance between insurance companies and public and private healthcare models can create more efficient preventive strategies.”