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Navy marines and a shipment of the cancer drug Methotrexate. Navy marines and a shipment of the cancer drug Methotrexate.

Mexico buys needed cancer treatment medication from France

President warns pharma companies government won't be 'blackmailed'

The Mexican government has purchased enough cancer medication to last through the end of the year, President López Obrador confirmed Sunday.

In making the purchase, he kept a promise made in August that he would buy the medication abroad, and said the government will continue doing so as long as Mexican pharmaceutical companies refuse to sell to the government.

The cancer treatment Methotrexate was purchased in France from Mylan Pharmaceuticals, one of the three biggest generic drug manufacturers in the world, with the coordination of the navy and health and finance officials.

“We bought 38,200 units (29,230 of 50 milligrams and 8,970 of 500 mg), which covers the requirements in the whole sector for the rest of the year,” officials said in a statement.

The total cost for the medicines came to 4,66 million pesos (US $239,457), which included shipping from France. The statement pointed out that the price was slightly less than what the previous administration paid to the only laboratory in Mexico that makes the drug.

At his morning conference on Monday, López Obrador accused the businesses from which the medications had been purchased previously of being greedy, accusing them of raising the price 200-300%.

“They wanted to play the same arm-wrestle game as the huachicoleros [fuel thieves]. They thought they could break our will, but the government won’t let itself be blackmailed,” he said.

“Whoever wants to do business can do so, but with reasonable profits . . . We no longer permit bribery and we will continue buying the medications in Mexico if they offer fair prices and there are reasonable profits,” he said.

In August, parents of cancer victims protested against a shortage of the drug and last week, doctors from a Mexico City hospital warned of another possible shortage, which this purchase was intended to avert.

Although he hopes to purchase the drug in Mexico in the future, López Obrador said the pharmaceutical companies must negotiate fairly.

“If they’re going to want to sabotage so that we don’t have the medicines, [then] we will buy the medications abroad,” he said.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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