Thursday, December 7, 2023

Judge orders government to report on availability of children’s cancer meds

A judge has ordered the federal government to report on the availability of cancer medications for children being treated at public hospitals after a group of doctors filed an injunction request warning of shortages.

In an injunction request filed with a federal court last week, the Mexican Association of Pediatric Onco-Hematology (AMOHP) warned that there is a shortage of 37 cancer medications used to treat children with cancer. Parents have protested against the shortages since last year.

The AMOHP said that 97 hospitals operated by both federal and state health authorities currently have shortages of at least one cancer medication.

“Public hospitals have stopped receiving medications … for reasons they have not been transparently informed about by the responsible authorities,” the association said.

In response to the injunction request, federal administrative court judge Manuel Camargo ordered the Finance Ministry, which is responsible for the purchasing system used to buy pharmaceuticals, and the Health Ministry to issue a report on the availability of cancer drugs and essential medical supplies used to treat cancer patients.

The judge ordered the ministries to outline the measures that have been adopted to guarantee the supply of cancer medications to public hospitals on a monthly, bimonthly and annual basis. He also ordered them to report on the processes that are in place to ensure that drugs are distributed to hospitals in a timely manner.

The government last year implemented a new centralized model for both purchasing and distributing medications, announcing last May that the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) would take over responsibility for getting drugs to the nation’s public hospitals and health clinics.

One logistics firm warned that IMSS doesn’t have the logistical know-how to ensure that medications reach their intended destinations in a timely fashion and that delivery times could double, while the pharmaceutical industry told the the federal government that it wouldn’t take responsibility for problems created by its new purchasing model.

The government has blamed shortages in Mexico on worldwide shortages of some cancer medications as well as “dissident” suppliers but said in February that it had purchased three important cancer drugs – vincristine, cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide – in Argentina and that stocks would last for at least three months.

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the stocks of those drugs, and others, are running short.

In addition to the AMOHP injunction request, another was filed in early May against the Mexico City government demanding that it supply cancer medications to a children’s hospital in the borough of Venustiano Carranza.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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