Access to cancer medicines in public hospitals in Mexico: The view of stakeholders

Daniela Moye-Holz, Anahi Dreser, Jitse P van Dijk, Sijmen A Reijneveld, Hans V Hogerzeil

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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BACKGROUND: Access to cancer medicines is a core component of comprehensive cancer care; as such, it is included in Mexico's public health insurance: Seguro Popular de Salud (SPS). Learning about stakeholders' experiences on processes and barriers influencing access to essential cancer medicines within healthcare facilities allows identifying needed policies to improve access to cancer care.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to obtain the insights of health professionals in public hospitals in Mexico on how SPS influences access to cancer medicines regarding medicine selection, financing, and procurement and supply systems. The purpose is to identify policy areas that need strengthening to improve access to cancer medicines.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 67 health professionals from 21 public hospitals accredited by SPS across Mexico. A framework analysis was used with categories of analysis derived from the World Health Organization's Access framework.

RESULTS: Most stakeholders reported that the availability of listed cancer medicines was sufficient. However, cancer specialists reported that medicines coverage by SPS was restrictive covering only basic cancer care. Public hospitals followed SPS treatment protocols in selecting and prescribing cancer medicines but used different procurement procedures. When essential cancer medicines were unavailable (not listed or stocked-out), hospitals reported several strategies such as prescribing alternative therapies, resorting to direct purchases, and assisting patients in obtaining medicines elsewhere. Other reported barriers to access to treatment were: distance to health facilities, poor insurance coverage, and financial restrictions.

CONCLUSIONS: Health professionals have encountered benefits and challenges from the implementation of SPS influencing access to cancer medicines and care in Mexico, pointing to areas in which action is necessary. Finding the right balance between expanding the range and cost of cancer treatments covered by insurance and making basic cancer care available to all is a challenge faced by Mexico and other middle-income countries.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1255-1263
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Nummer van het tijdschrift9
Vroegere onlinedatum27-nov-2019
StatusPublished - sep-2020

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