Mexico has the highest use of generic medication products in the world. Over the last four years, the number of generic products has increased by more than 15,000 percent, climbing from 153 products in 2010 to 23,000 in 2014.
According to Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks Oversight, also known as Cofepris, Mexico has one of the highest rates of generic medication consumption in the world.
Head of Cofepris, Mikel Arriola, explains that generic medications are the same products as ‘regular’ medication, just in a different package. He says the work of Cofepris is to ensure consumers get the same product.
He explains, “We have to look at this in the simplest way – they’re the same products and can be sold when their patents expire.”
In the last 30 years, 340 products that were developed from 31 patented substances have been authorized for use due to expired patents. These products include medication for varying types of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the three main causes of 75 percent of deaths in Mexico.
He’s also aware of what he refers to as the “black legend” — that generic drugs are less effective than brand-name medications — but clarifies that if that were true, consumer consumption of these products would be low, but “in Mexico it is the highest in the world, so there’s no more black legend against generics,” he said.
Arriola notes that, “We’re the country that’s setting records in providing generics,” adding that Mexicans save an average of 60 percent on the price, which has added up to $20 billion peso from 2010 to 2014.
Over the past four years, the average individual medication bill has declined from 2,100 peso to 750, while IMSS, the state-run health insurer, provided coverage for an additional 1.1 million patients.
Arriloa notes the Mexican pharmaceutical industry has grown 13.2 percent during the last three years and that federal health authorities have invested more than 51 billion peso in 1,900 generic medication brands for 2015.