Pharmacy health clinics put lives at risk, warns Mexico’s Undersecretary of Health

Pharmacy health clinics represent a risk to health and life because they do not have the capacity to treat chronic diseases, warned the Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell.

Questioned on this subject in the morning conference on Tuesday, the official pointed out that these medical units belong to lucrative companies whose main objective is the massive sale of medicines and not the health of Mexicans.

“The basic idea with which these clinics began to become famous was the immediate resolution because you simply have to stop in the clinic and you are attended to. But in reality, it is a great deception, the offices adjacent to the pharmacy do not solve health problems of greater importance, ”said the undersecretary.

“Someone who has diabetes, hypertension, or chronic lung or heart disease, like a large part of the Mexican population, these clinics are not going to solve, or could even endanger their health and life. This is documented,” he added.

Likewise, he criticized the working conditions of the doctors who work in these establishments, since, he assures, they do not have benefits, they are forced to sign temporary contracts that do not generate seniority and they are pressured to act as sales agents.

“Basically, health personnel are under pressure because they have to write prescriptions for multiple medications because that is their main interest, it is not giving consultations, it is not solving health problems,” he charged.

“Some of these chains do not even charge for the consultation and call them ‘free medical advice’ because they do not consider it relevant, for these chains the important thing is that patients leave with a prescription for 6, 8, 10, 15 medications, the vast majority not correctly indicated”, warned López-Gatell.

He pointed out that during the COVID-19 pandemic these pharmacies promoted the abuse of antibiotics and steroids.

Despite the danger that these offices represent, they cannot be dispensed with immediately, acknowledged the Undersecretary of Health, since there is currently not a “sufficient supply of doctors and public health facilities.”

He said that there will be a ” transition phase ” since pharmacy clinics today “cover a need” that will be covered by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s new health system.

“We cannot cancel them outright. The desirable thing is that they do not exist”, said the official.

“The transition phase is likely to involve more stringent regulation,” he threatened.

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