BRANDED DRUGS DOMINATE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT PURCHASES

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Mexican drugmakers' association ANAFAM has denounced the strong preference for branded drugs shown by a key national healthcare scheme. Mexico's IMSS covers roughly 47mn salaried workers and has an annual budget of US$2.1bn, but local firms claim the system plagued by erratic supplies fails to reimburse generic products that are up to six times cheaper than branded competitors.

However, the scheme's administrators insist that cost control is a real concern. The IMSS recently renewed pledges to boost purchases of affordable genuine generics, but observers note that progress has been very slow to date.

While much of the drug industry has come out in favour of a thorough reform of the country's patent laws, the government insists that the forthcoming presidential elections will not dictate the pace of change. Meanwhile, pharmacy groups have urged officials not to consider new controls in an attempt to resolve the current confusion over drug prices.