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Children with cancer and their parents protest on June 30 outside Mexico City's airport demanding the timely delivery of treatments they were promised. Photo: Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Child cancer patients and HIV-positive Mexicans have increasingly had to put life-saving treatments on hold as public hospitals run out of the medications they need.

The big picture: Activists say around 1,600 children with cancer have died from the lack of oncological meds.

Breaking it down: Shortages have been growing since 2018, but they have worsened during the pandemic. In 2018, Mexico’s government gave purchasing power to an inexperienced branch of the finance ministry, arguing there was corruption with the past set-up.

  • Retail pharmacies also report a 15% drop in inventory, affecting people with more manageable health problems, like ulcers.
  • Courts have ordered authorities to supply patients and their families with needed medications, and the UN has stepped in to help, but the government has not met its promises to make the drugs consistently available.

The other side: Undersecretary of Health Hugo López-Gatell drew outrage after denying the shortages and suggesting that protesting parents of children with cancer are paid by the opposition.

  • López-Gatell, who’s in charge of the coronavirus response and of Cofepris (Mexico’s FDA), later backtracked.
  • Authorities have promised a partial batch of treatments will arrive tomorrow, but patients demand a more long-term solution.

Go deeper

Sep 10, 2021 - Health

FDA "will follow the science" to approve COVID vaccine for kids under 12

A nurse gives a boy a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The FDA said on Friday that it is "working around the clock" to support the process of making the coronavirus vaccine available for children under the age of 12.

Why it matters: The number of children getting hospitalized due to the virus is increasing, with some infectious disease doctors worrying that the Delta variant could be causing more serious illness in kids.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.