Health alert in Mexico for the theft of more than 37,000 cancer medicines

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The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) of the Mexican Government launched this Saturday a health alert for the theft of more than 37,000 medicines against cancer.

Cofepris, Mexico’s main food and medicine regulator, reported in a statement that the theft of products it happened on wednesday happened in the warehouses of the company Novag Infancia, where they stole oncological drugs manufactured by Kemex Laboratories.

Stolen drugs cannot be purchased in private pharmacies, private hospitals or online, the agency warned, explaining that they are exclusive use of the public health sector.

That is, they are only authorized in the Ministry of Health, the Institute of Security and Social Services of State Workers (ISSSTE), the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) and the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena).

In the products given as stolen, the quality and safety of the medicines is not guaranteed, since storage conditions unknownand transportation, indicated the Cofepris in the alert.

Medicines shortage

The theft of these drugs occurs amid criticism of the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the medicine shortage against cancer.

Although the shortage of medicines has been a common problem in the last six years, last year sharpened due to budget cuts and changes in the way of acquiring products imposed by López Obrador, who assumed power on December 1, 2018.

Parents of children with cancer in various states across the country have spoken out frequently since January to demand from the authorities the correct supply of cancer drugs.

After one of the most massive demonstrations, the IMSS last month agreed with the families to implement mechanisms of patient surveillance and treatment monitoring.

However, with this theft, both the authorities and the families fear that the drugs end up on the black market.

So far this year, there are 4,867 new cases detected, 3,650 diagnosed in advanced phase and 1,825 registered deaths, according to the Mexican Association of Help to Children with Cancer (AMANC).

When appearing before the Senate, the Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer, denied 10 days ago that it existed medicine shortage and he committed to a monthly report on the distribution of medicines.

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