The federal government signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Friday to collaborate on the international purchase of medicines, medical supplies and vaccines.
President López Obrador said the agreement will allow Mexico to obtain high quality medications and equipment all over the world at low prices and thus put an end to shortages.
He said the collaboration with UNOPS will also stamp out corruption in the purchase of medicines, noting that money has been stolen in the past and adulterated products have been distributed.
The president thanked lawmakers for passing a law that enables the government to make consolidated purchases abroad and reiterated that a state-owned company will be created to distribute medicines, medical supplies and vaccines across the country.
Health Minister Jorge Alcocer explained that UNOPS will provide technical assistance and advice to the National Institute of Health for Well-Being — Insabi for short — as the government department prepares to make purchases of medications and medical products abroad.
He said transparency and the absence of corruption are important to the government in such purchases.
Alcocer said Mexican pharmaceutical and medical supplies companies will still be able to bid for government contracts but added that in order to be considered they will have to “comply with the high levels of quality and honesty” the government and UNOPS demand.
UNOPS Mexico director Fernando Cotrim Barbieri said his office will initially collaborate with the government on its 2021 consolidated purchase of medicine and supplies.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard noted that UNOPS has also collaborated with Mexican authorities on the tendering process for the Maya Train and a new e-passport, among other projects.