Mexicans affected by cancer march against medicine shortages

Mexico City, Jul 24 (EFE).- Thousands of Mexican patients, survivors and families of those with cancer marched on Saturday against the persistent shortage of medicines despite the government’s claims that it has resolved the problem.

Protesters from all over the country marched from the Angel of Independence on Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main avenue, to the Alameda Central park, under the slogan “Chemo, yes.”

“I don’t think there’s a more just cause at this time than defending the right for people who have cancer and many other illnesses to have their full medicines on time. This is the most humane struggle that we Mexicans can undertake,” a protester, Marcela Martínez, told EFE.

Shortage of medicines in the public sector has been one of the main criticisms of the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The problem was exacerbated in 2019 by budget cuts and changes in the way they are bought after he took office in December 2018.

On Tuesday, the government claimed to have resolved the problem by investing nearly 77 billion pesos (about $3.85 billion) in its tenders and with the United Nations Office for Project Services.

However, the protesters refuted the government’s claims.

“It’s true, there are no medicines, neither for cancer nor for other diseases, so we have to ask the authorities, pressure them to fix this problem that they caused,” said Martinez, who is a cancer survivor and lost her mother to the disease last year.

Another demonstrator, Teresa Herrera, urged society at large to show solidarity with the cause.

“I cannot believe that we are putting up with medicines being taken away from us, because a country that allows medicines to be taken away allows everything. We cannot allow it, we cannot forget it,” she said.

On Thursday, a court ordered the Attorney General’s Office to file a criminal complaint against the Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer, and the former Secretary of Finance, Arturo Herrera, for contempt for failing to ensure the supply of anti-cancer drugs. EFE


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