enero 25

Celebrating 30 years of supporting pharmacies in Mexico

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Thirty years ago the National Association of Pharmacies in Mexico (ANAFARMEX) was founded with the aim of representing pharmacies throughout the country and supporting the needs of the sector with consulting services and training. To celebrate this day, the two-day 30th International Congress of Pharmacies kicked off on 8th October at Hotel Crowne Plaza and gathered the members of the association as well as relevant figures in the industry, including Mikel Arriola, Commissioner of COFEPRIS, Dr. Engels Ruelas, Director General of Verification and Vigilance at PROFECO, and José Alberto Peña, Vice President and Director of GSK.

During the inauguration act, Antonio Pascual, President of ANAFARMEX shared a message to all members of the association regarding the mission and commitment of ANAFARMEX to the industry, including continuous improvement of the drug dispensing process as well as the golden rules for pharmacies to ensure safety and promote awareness amongst the population. According to Pascual, pharmacies play an essential role in promoting responsible consumption of medicines as they establish direct contact with people. For instance, pharmacies were crucial in the fight against diarrhea and infections 25 years ago, when dehydration was one of the main causes of death in Mexico and when oral electrolyte products needed to have a stronger penetration in pharmacies and retail. Today, pharmacies are essential for millions of Mexicans buying medicines for chronic diseases such as diabetes, and have an inherent social responsibility including following physicians’ prescriptions, offering safe and quality alternatives such as generics, raising awareness about products with misleading information, among others.

Arriola stressed the importance of implementing an effective pharmaceutical policy in the country for families to reduce expenditure on medicines and gain better access to high quality, low cost pharmaceuticals. From 2011, 32 molecules have lost their patent allowing the entry of 357 new generic versions with an average price reduction of 61% and 85% for oncology drugs. Regarding the pharmacies segment, COFEPRIS has put special emphasis on ensuring physicians at the point of sale comply with the requirements established by several norms. At this point 8,000 verification visits have been made and 24,000 guidelines have been delivered to physicians, while 356 consulting offices have been closed due to compliance issues. Providing physicians at pharmacies with guidelines for prevention of chronic diseases is part of a national strategy of President Peña. They consist of monitoring three parameters, namely weight and height, medical records indicating any signs of chronic disease, and referring patients to healthcare institutions when necessary.

Mikel Arriola, Commissioner of COFEPRIS

Other topics such as dispensation of controlled medication were addressed during the congress. As awareness on the issue of controlled drugs rises, physicians prescribe less of these products and patients can only buy them when they have a formal prescription. The same happens with antibiotics and pharmacies are incorporating software and tools in order to track prescriptions, doses, and units sold. In addition, their personnel is becoming trained and certified to new requirements and best practices continuously. Later on companies like GSK, Colgate, and Nivea presented newly released products such as dermocosmetics and OTC lines that are available at pharmacies at competitive prices.

With these efforts, ANFARMEX is aiming to integrate the different segments of the value chain, which altogether comprise an improving healthcare sector.


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