Plan of restructuring the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) in Mexico
The recently published 2020-2024 Sectorial Program of the Mexican Health Ministry presents the identified need for restructuring the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), a decentralized agency within the Health Ministry that oversees sanitary regulations, control, surveillance, and health protection. The aim is to optimise its processes to fight corruption and strengthen transparency. In that regard, the responsibility of holding COFEPRIS accountable was reassigned from the Minister of Health to the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, led by Dr. Hugo López-Gatell, which was also assigned the task of facilitating the restructuring process of the agency. The official Agreement on the ascription of administrative units and decentralized agencies of the Health Ministry, which made this reassignment official, can be found here (in Spanish).
In particular, the Sectorial Program states that the objective of restructuring the agency is to strengthen sanitary regulations and control, as well as health promotion. It also suggests the revision of COFEPRIS's priorities towards surveillance of sanitary and medical devices and pharmacovigilance, the emission of authorizations and health registrations, along with strengthening risk assessment procedures. Regarding sanitary regulations, the program visualizes the rearrangement of COFEPRIS's functions to focus its responsibilities in the areas of medicines, medical devices, food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. The Sectorial Program can be found here (in Spanish).
The empowerment of the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion to superintend COFEPRIS can be regarded as the first step forward within the plan of restructuring the agency. However, the next steps are yet to be seen.