Around 40% of adult Mexicans routinely self-medicate with up to eight drug products each day, according to doctors. Concerns focus on the fact that in addition to the risks of excessive self-medication, Mexicans are failing to treat serious underlying chronic diseases.
Mexico's most prevalent chronic diseases include diabetes, arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia, as well as neurological problems. However, research has indicated that Mexico's strong demand for problems such as impotence implies that associated chronic conditions are significantly under-treated.
The structure of Mexico's healthcare system partly explains under-treatment of chronic disease and excessive self-medication. Many poorer consumers find doctor consultations prohibitively expensive, whereas OTCs are easily available on the street. Meanwhile, only a minority of Mexicans have private health insurance and state providers report frequent shortfalls in supplies of essential prescription drugs.