The Mexican healthcare system is improving through increased research protocols facilitated by regulatory changes and prevention strategies like vaccine production but there is still room for improvement in education, alliances and reducing approval times for medicines and treatments, according to the panel “Improving health through research and prevention strategies” at Mexico Health Summit 2016,
Cecilia Moreno, head of Clinical Operations at PPD, told the audience that over the past few years Mexico has grown in the development of vaccines, a basic prevention strategy. “Mexico’smain participation is in dengue fever and HPV prevention,” she said, adding that having Mexican patients participate in clinical trials is important for the country’s private and public industry.
Moreno added that Mexican regulation on research is very well established but regulatory times are too long, which represents an obstacle for the industry. Mexico´s large population is an opportunity to carry out trials and many companies are interested. “We are working on it with the authorities to have more competitive studies,” said Moreno. Companies like Novartis, said Alexis Serlin, President of Novartis Mexico, are working with COFEPRIS to reduce those times.
Gabriela Allard, President of the Mexican Diabetes Association, said education was a primary step for prevention. “Besides having great studies, technology and treatments, it is important to have committed patients, which is only possible with education.” The objective of the Mexican Diabetes Association, she explained, is to create healthy environments in companies, restaurants and institutions. “We need to have an inclusive society. If companies include healthy environments, it is possible to reduce the number of workers who have diseases.” The Association has developed an app that helps patients manage their disease.
Novartis’ Serlin said the drug industry must go beyond just providing medications and partner with the health system to improve patients’ lives. Novartis has started a disease management program that researches the main causes of illnesses. It also helped create “Excellence Centers” in institutions to regulate patient treatments. “We bring in experts from other sectors to spend time with us and get to know what we do and adopt it in their institutions. We have seen that what moves change in the patient is the family and work environment, not only the treatment,” Serlin added.
Rogelio Villareal, Director General of the Centro de Oftalmología de Monterrey, mentioned the importance of establishing alliances to offer better services. That is the case of the project he is developing with Monterrey’s ITESM, the government, social organizations and the private sector. Together they are looking for prevention strategies for eye diseases. “Through these we have found an interesting relation between research, innovation and prevalence,” he said.
Allard mentioned that there is a challenge when patients ask about the newest medical innovations and best treatments. “For us the patient has the right to the best education and information and that is our responsibility,” she said.
The conversation was moderated by Christian López, partner and head of Life and Science at Baker and McKenzie.
Contributed article by Camilla Del Villar