Austerity measures have hit the healthcare sector hard. Budget cuts and medicine shortages have caused uncertainty among businesses and the general population. However, different fronts are standing up against these aggressive measures to ensure a proper budget is allocated for 2020.

Before jumping into the news, don’t forget to check out our Interview of the Week with Rodrigo Puga, President and Country Manager of Pfizer Mexico. Mexico Health Review sat down with Puga to talk about how new health schemes can help bring innovative medicines to the general population.

Protecting the Healthcare Budget

During his visit to Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, President López Obrador said the budget for healthcare will increase by MX$40 billion (US$2.03 billion) in 2020. The increase in resources will be destined to medicines, nurses and doctors.

Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar, President of the Budget and Public Accounts Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, said representatives will not accept another cut to the healthcare budget in 2020. The sector has been one of the most affected by the new government’s austerity policies.

IMSS and ISSSTE registered cuts in physical spending of almost 70 percent in the first half of 2019. These resources are destined mostly to the construction of new hospitals, acquisition of new medical equipment, technology and maintenance.

Introductions and Limitations

Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice has approved a project to force the Ministry of Health to regulate cannabis and its derivates for medical use. The project also urges COFEPRIS to participate in making this happen.

The revised content in the books provided by the Ministry of Public Education will include sexuality topics focused on exercising sexuality, using of contraceptives, parenthood, reproductive rights and even relationships. The Ministry said students will also receive education on healthy eating habits and physical activity to prevent obesity, diabetes and nutrition and exercise-related diseases.

The Alliance for Food Safety linked tobacco, alcohol, sugary drinks and junk food to 18 percent of all deaths in Mexico in 2017. The ONG is suggesting an increase in taxes for these products as a way to prevent this rate from growing.

President López Obrador has also declared war on sodas and junk food and promised to release a campaign “like no other” to educate the population on healthy eating habits.

Unexpected Outbreaks

An immunization cocktail dubbed REGN-EB3 and a monoclonal antibody named mAb114 could be the best hope for victims of the latest ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both treatments led to survival rates of 90 percent, an improvement over other medicines tested.

The Ministry of Health informed that seven cases of measles have been detected in Mexico, the latest in Chihuahua. Other cases have been reported in State of Mexico, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi and Nuevo Leon.

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