Direct Relief today announced it has established a conduit for pharmaceutical companies in Mexico to donate medicine within the country.
In the first major distribution through the pipeline, Direct Relief received 26.5 metric tons of medicine donated by Bayer de México S.A. de C.V. and has distributed it onward to a network of local healthcare providers.
Bayer’s donation – a total of five truckloads of prescription and over-the-counter medication – was the first shipment received in secure warehouse space donated by Kuehne + Nagel International AG in Mexico City, which will serve as the central logistics hub for Direct Relief in Mexico.
With support from FedEx, Baxter International Foundation, AbbVie Foundation and others, Direct Relief’s Mexico office was established in 2014. The next year, Direct Relief received Donataria Autorizada status from the Mexican government, allowing companies in Mexico to receive tax benefits for donations to the organization.
“In the traditional aid model, countries receive assistance from abroad,” said Eduardo Mendoza, manager of Direct Relief, Mexico. “This approach leverages the extensive resources within Mexico and creates a mechanism to provide authentic, approved medications to Mexican low-income patients who have no other way to get the medicine they need.”
While Direct Relief has provided more than $35 million USD in donated medicine in Mexico since 2014, it previously was able to distribute only pharmaceuticals manufactured in the United States and delivered them through costly international direct shipments. Pharmaceuticals are manufactured in Mexico both by local and global pharma companies, but no mechanism existed until now to enable large-scale ongoing donations within the country.
“For Bayer, it is essential to work together with professional and well-recognized non-profit charitable organizations in its Corporate Societal Engagement. We are very happy to cooperate closely with Direct Relief in Mexico to bring urgently required medicines to Mexicans affected by poverty and emergencies, and by this, improve their health and lives,” said Stephan Gerlich, Senior Bayer Representative for Mexico.
Direct Relief conducts a similar program in the United States, where it is the sole charitable organization licensed to distribute Rx medications in all 50 states. The nonprofit intends to replicate the domestically-sourced model in other countries with pharmaceutical manufacturing and large populations that lack access to medicine.
“Committed to adding value in supply chain and distribution processes, Kuehne + Nagel decided to join Direct Relief and Bayer by providing warehouse space for a unique humanitarian opportunity, donating medicine for low-income patients,” said Rodrigo Ahedo, Operations Director Pharma Contract Logistics for Kuehne + Nagel. “This action certainly empowers our biggest driving force, delivering millions of stories around the globe through our business partner’s goods distribution. We will be glad to keep joining efforts with organizations and companies with such great projects and amazing social responsibility; this was an incredible experience which we were fortunate to help.”
Major recipients of this donation include Fundación IMSS A.C., Marie Stopes México A.C., and Mexfam, which together received 50,000 units of oral contraceptives and 23,000 units of Plan B emergency contraceptives. Each item was specifically requested by these organizations for patient care.