On November 19, within the framework of the ordinary meeting of Mercosur Health Ministers, the Argentine Minister of Health, the Ministers of Health of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, and a representative of the Bolivian Health Ministry signed an agreement that establishes the creation of an “Ad Hoc Committee to promote the expansion of the regional production capacity of drugs, immunizers and health technologies”. The objective of the Committee will be to analyze and outline production, research and development capacities in Mercosur, evaluate initiatives to improve access to medicines, vaccines and other health technologies, as well as to identify synergies and possibilities for cooperation between member countries.
During the meeting, the Minister of Health of Argentina, Carla Vizzotti, said: “the region and our countries in general have a high external dependence on health technologies. According to ECLAC estimates, only 4% of imports of medical products related to the response to COVID-19 originated in the region.
Therefore, he considered that “only the development of our industry can contribute to improve access to essential health products, such as medicines, supplies, equipment and vaccines, improve living conditions, increase employment and the development of research and science.” “We have the challenge and the need to generate concrete measures to achieve and sustain healthcare independence,” he concluded.