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New supplies may take longer to arrive, warns logistics operator. New supplies may take longer to arrive, warns logistics operator.

Logistics firm warns medications delivery time will double under new plan

Government will also pay 10% more for distribution

The federal government’s plan to assume responsibility for the distribution of medications to public health facilities will cause delivery times to double in most states, the head of a logistics firm has warned.

As part of a new model for purchasing and distributing medications, the government announced last month that the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) will take over responsibility for getting drugs to the nation’s public hospitals and health clinics. Private logistics firms currently carry out that task.

José Ambe, general director of Logística de México, believes that the government doesn’t have the logistical know-how to ensure that medications reach their intended destinations in a timely fashion.

“Specialized personnel with knowledge of technological advances is required in order to establish highly efficient distribution chains,” he said, explaining that if such chains are in place, delivery costs come down and medication and medical supplies reach the places where they are needed “in the shortest possible time.”

Even though the government has said that its new centralized and consolidated purchasing model will allow medicines to be obtained at cheaper prices, Ambe predicted that it will end up paying about 10% more if it goes ahead with the plan to distribute medications itself.

“The private sector dedicated to the distribution of medicines absorbs all operational costs, including the modernization of infrastructure,” he said.

Rafael Gual Cosío, head of the National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry, has already warned that the government hasn’t properly considered the logistics and costs of distributing medications, stating that neither IMSS nor any other government department, including the army, has the capacity to adequately store and transport the massive quantities of drugs required by patients in the public health system.

Other members of the sector told federal officials last week that the pharmaceutical industry won’t take responsibility for problems created by its new model for purchasing and distributing medications, including medicine shortages.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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