The budgetary sacrifice that the health sector will have in 2021 in the midst of the fight against the covid-19 pandemic will not only be in investment in infrastructure, but also in the acquisition of medicines, an area that will not see significant variation next year.
Data from the Expenditure Budget Project 2021 indicate that 68 thousand 407 million were assigned to the item of acquisition of medicines and pharmaceutical products, which will imply a marginal advance of 0.1% in real terms, or an increase of only 98.4 million pesos.
The reason for the meager budget expansion for the purchase of medicines in 2021 lies in the cuts that will be made to the main social security institutes of the country, that is, to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) and the Institute of Social Security and Services of State Workers (ISSSTE).
In the case of the IMSS, the budget reduction will be 1.8% per year in real terms, and will be located at an amount of 44,671 million pesos.
The IMSS will be the institution that will exercise the highest proportion of spending on drugs, with 65.3% of the total amount.
Then follows the cut in spending on drugs by the ISSSTE, which will be of the order of 2.1% in real terms, to settle at 16 thousand 613 million pesos for next year.
The ISSSTE will exercise in 2021 24.3% of the total budget for the purchase of medicines and pharmaceutical products.
These reductions will be compensated by the budget increases that the Ministry of Health (+ 18.5%) and Pemex (+ 39.9% real annual) will have in the purchase of medicines, institutions that together will exercise 6,949 million pesos in 2021, which represents 10.2% of the total expenditure in the area.
Finally, for the rest of the federal public sector, which includes the rest of the agencies and entities of the Federal Public Administration and the autonomous powers, the Federal Expenditure Budget Project proposed an amount of spending on medicines of 174 million pesos, which will imply a real annual reduction of 20.3%.
In its most recent analysis of health spending, Mexico Evalúa stated that behind the stagnation in spending on medicines throughout the health sector is, on the one hand, the government’s dispute with the national pharmaceutical industry, which forced a reform to the procurement law so that medicines could be bought abroad.
On the other hand, it is due to the fact that the centralization of the administrative processes of the health sector has made it difficult to set up consolidated bids for medicines, and more so when the Ministry of Finance was given a more active role.
This situation has been registered in a context in which groups of citizens have denounced the shortage of medicines for specific treatments, as is the case of children with cancer.