Important changes were announced yesterday in the Presidential cabinet with Mikel Arriola replacing José Antonio González Anaya as Director of IMSS, and the latter taking over PEMEX. José Narro – former Director of UNAM – is the next Minister of Health substituting Mercedes Juan. This is the second wave of big changes in the cabinet after last year’s modifications in ten ministries, and take place in a time crucial for the transformation of public institutions in Mexico.
Firstly, Arriola’s administration of COFEPRIS is praised by the healthcare industry after successfully improving and optimizing new drug approval times, implementing an efficacious pharmaceutical policy supporting innovation and generics, and gaining the recognition and certification of COFEPRIS as a reference regulatory agency worldwide. Challenges for the next administration of COFEPRIS include maintaining the quality standards and certifications of the agency, investing more resources in seizing illegal and miracle products, as well as further improving processes related to approvals.
José Narro is about to face one of the most interesting challenges in his professional career: attaining universal healthcare in Mexico and pushing forward the transformation of the healthcare system – a highly fragmented one with several institutions following their own policies and procedures. While the latest administrations have taken important steps in unifying the system, stakeholders definitely expect to see clear signs of a reform and institutional convergence in the next two years. How Narro is going to achieve this depends on working closely with Arriola as the new Head of IMSS, as well as with the rest of the healthcare institutions.
Industry stakeholders are eager to see Arriola optimizing the policies and operations of IMSS, which has completely different issues from those of COFEPRIS. For instance, IMSS underwent a completed financial situation in 2014 and 2015, which still needs to further recover in 2016. Moreover, integration of the healthcare system remains a priority with universalization and portability at the center of the agenda. Other important discussions for the industry include medicines and technology acquisition, increasing patients’ access to medicines, and collaborating with the industry to implement risk shared models and pay for performance schemes.
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