Parents protest shortage of cancer medications for their children
Parents of cancer victims protested at Mexico City International Airport on Monday to demand the supply of essential medications.
The protesters said there have been no cancer drugs at two Mexico City hospitals for the past 1 1/2 months, a situation that has forced the delay of their children’s treatment.
About 500 children who receive treatment at the Federico Gómez and 20 de Noviembre hospitals are affected by the lack of medicines, they said.
The parents blocked access to Terminal 1 at the airport during a protest that lasted more than 1 1/2 hours, the newspaper El Financiero reported.
Holding signs that denounced the lack of government funding for the purchase of medications and warned that the lives of their children were at risk, the protesters demanded to meet with federal health officials.
Another group of parents protested outside the Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital, where Mexico City government undersecretary Arturo Medina Calva arrived to seek dialogue.
The parents told him that they presented a complaint to the federal government more than three months ago but received no response.
Later yesterday, the federal Health Secretariat (SS) issued a statement which said that patients at the Federico Gómez hospital who require chemotherapy agent methotrexate will be able to access the drug.
The statement said that health officials sought the support of the Mexican Social Security Institute to ensure that the drug is supplied, although it also pointed out that the Federico Gómez hospital is authorized to purchase medications directly.
The Health Secretariat said that officials had met with 10 parents and the medical director of the Federico Gómez hospital to listen to their concerns and demands.
The secretariat has said previously that the lack of methotrexate is due to a worldwide shortage of the drug.
However, El Financiero reported that there are more than 20 applications to import the drug or its raw materials that have not been approved by the health regulator, Cofepris.
Parents of children with cancer indicated that they are prepared to stage larger protests at the Mexico City airport if the supply of cancer medications doesn’t improve and also warned they could set up blockades on highways such as that between Mexico City and Puebla.
Medicine shortages that were blamed on federal budget cuts to the health sector have been reported in more than 20 states this year.
However, Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer said in May that the funding problem had been “fixed.”