Alcocer, Herrera Face Criminal Complaints over Drug Shortages
By KELIN DILLON
After much controversy over the subject, Mexico’s Secretary of Health Jorge Alcocer, former Secretary of the Treasury Arturo Herrera, and head of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) Thalía Lagunas are facing criminal complaints of contempt with the country’s Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) over their role in failing to deliver life-saving drugs to sick pediatric cancer patients as promised.
The complaint was filed on Friday, July 16, on the grounds that the three aforementioned officials repeatedly failed to comply with the sourcing of the medications in a timely manner after a court order demanded they do so on Aug. 6, 2020.
Under the mandate, Alcocer, Herrera and Lagunas were required to provide 54 hospitals around the country with 37 drugs, specifically for children battling cancer. The trio did not manage to acquire any portion of the medications until Tuesday, July 20, and some still remain missing, nearly a full year later.
Though the Secretariat of Health and SHCP have repeatedly denied their role in the failure to acquire these vital medications for public hospitals, the jurisdiction of all health sector purchases was given to the SHCP’s Mayor’s Office in 2020.
Now, the FGR will need to investigate the complaint against the government officials, which could result in three to nine years in prison each if they are found guilty of contempt.
However, since the FGR consistently rules in the favor of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), it is unlikely that Alcocer, Herrera or Lagunas will face any repercussions for their actions, despite the fact their negligence put the lives of many of the nation’s sick children in danger and likely caused many preventable deaths in the process.