The recent peso depreciation has caused a price increase in medicine in Mexico, particularly those for the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis.
The price of medicine has risen well-above general inflation of around 2-3 percent with antibiotics rising 9.4 percent from August 2015 to August 2016, cardiovascular medicine by 6.1 percent, painkillers by 7.6 percent, diabetic medicine by 8.6 percent, allergy medicine by 7.2 percent, anti-inflammatories by 8.8 percent and contraceptives by 12.7 percent, according to INEGI’s consumer price indicators. Most of the increase owes to the fact that a majority of raw materials for these treatments are imported at dollar prices.
“Products whose prices have increased the most come from multinational laboratories, that is to say that national medicine has risen by 10 percent and imported by 20-25 percent. This rise hits the consumer’s wallet because medicines are increasingly less affordable, even though the national industry has put money in to make them affordable,” said Juvenal Becerra, President of Unefarm, quoted in El Universal.
This hits the consumer especially hard as according to IMS Health, quoted in El Debate, 70 percent of medicine is bought privately through pharmacies, supermarkets or other, compared to only 30 percent obtained through the public sector, such as IMSS or ISSSTE.
As Mexico is in the midst of an epidemic of chronic diseases, this strikes particularly hard as to not have access to these medicines would reduce a sufferer’s quality of life.