Bulletin of the World Health Organization

A new entity for the negotiation of public procurement prices for patented medicines in Mexico

Octavio Gómez-Dantés, Veronika J Wirtz, Michael R Reich, Paulina Terrazas & Maki Ortiz

Problem

As countries expand health insurance coverage, their expenditures on medicines increase. To address this problem, WHO has recommended that every country draw up a list of essential medicines. Although most medicines on the list are generics, in many countries patented medicines represent a substantial portion of pharmaceutical expenditure.

Approach

To help control expenditure on patented medicines, in 2008 the Mexican Government created the Coordinating Commission for Negotiating the Price of Medicines and other Health Inputs (CCPNM), whose role, as the name suggests, is to enter into price negotiations with drug manufacturers for patented drugs on Mexico’s list of essential medicines.

Local setting

Mexico’s public expenditure on pharmaceuticals has increased substantially in the past decade owing to government efforts to achieve universal health-care coverage through Seguro Popular, an insurance programme introduced in 2004 that guarantees access to a comprehensive package of health services and medicines.

Relevant changes

Since 2008, the CCPNM has improved procurement practices in Mexico’s public health institutions and has achieved significant price reductions resulting in substantial savings in public pharmaceutical expenditure.

Lessons learnt

The CCPNM has successfully changed the landscape of price negotiation for patented medicines in Mexico. However, it is also facing challenges, including a lack of explicit indicators to assess CCPNM performance; a shortage of permanent staff with sufficient technical expertise; poor coordination among institutions in preparing background materials for the annual negotiation process in a timely manner; insufficient communication among committees and institutions; and a lack of political support to ensure the sustainability of the CCPNM.

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