Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar warned of possible monopolistic practices in the medical oxygen market due to COVID-19

Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar warned of possible monopolistic practices in the medical oxygen market due to COVID-19

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Ramírez Cuéllar questioned that only a handful of companies have control in the sector (Photo: José Méndez / EFE)

Brunette, the president’s party Andrés Manuel López Obrador, asked from the Chamber of Deputies what the production and commercialization of medicinal oxygen is investigated, to stop the alleged “Monopolistic practices” that damage the economy of those who suffer at this time.

“The act of companies that are dedicated to the commercialization of medicinal oxygen must be investigated and made transparent, since acquiring tanks has become a nightmare and a great damage to the pockets of millions of families facing COVID-19, ″ said Deputy Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar on Tuesday.

Ramírez Cuéllar, former national president of Morena, stressed that Mexicans must not only deal with the disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, but also in addition “they suffer from the price premiums of a market that has obtained great profits at the cost of harming those who have the least ”.

In recent weeks, it is common to see lines of people waiting to recharge their oxygen tanks destined for their relatives or loved ones (Photo: Ulises Ruiz / AFP)

In recent weeks, it is common to see lines of people waiting to recharge their oxygen tanks destined for their relatives or loved ones/
 

The Morenoist legislator recalled that, according to data from the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) from 2014, since that year the companies INFRA, CRYOINFRA and Praxair had been investigated for their probable responsibility in carrying out monopolistic practices related to conditioning the sale of their products to exclusivity clauses.

“Currently they concentrate the sale of medical and industrial oxygen to the federal government, adding more than 2,000 million pesos in contracts in 2020. In addition, due to the high prices that these companies have set, it was necessary for the IMSS (Mexican Institute of Social Security) increase the planned spending by 287 million pesos, which meant an increase of 38% to its budget to guarantee supply in all its units ”, he detailed

According to Ramírez Cuéllar, due to the health contingency facing the country, these companies report profits of around 1,777 million pesos from the sale of oxygen to institutions such as the IMSS, the ISSSTE (Institute of Social Security and Services for State Workers), the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health, among others.

Mexico accumulates almost 1.7 million infections and has already exceeded the barrier of 142,000 deaths (Photo: Miguel Gutiérrez / EFE)

Mexico accumulates almost 1.7 million infections and has already exceeded the barrier of 142,000 deaths (Photo: Miguel Gutiérrez / EFE)

“We are aware of what the families who seek to access an oxygen tank are going through, We know that there are many obstacles and clauses that are not regulated, so it is urgent that Cofece conclude its investigation, so that in the event that the companies are acting abusively, the corresponding authorities can provide solutions, “said the morenista.

On January 11, the Federal Attorney for the Consumer, Ricardo Sheffieldsaid that the Infra and Praxair companies produce enough medicinal oxygen in the country to supply the national market. “We can say with all certainty that there is not and will not be a shortage of oxygen”, he highlighted.

For his part, Ramírez Cuéllar evaluated the news with a less optimistic vision. “The situation we face is complex and we cannot allow large companies to benefit the most at the expense of the health of families. The sale and refilling of oxygen tanks must be regulated”, He emphasized.

The increase in the demand for medicinal oxygen, as well as for tanks, also increased prices and shortages (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)

The increase in the demand for medicinal oxygen, as well as for tanks, also increased prices and shortages (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)

Demand for oxygen refills and tank purchase has increased considerably, which has caused the increase in prices, especially in the center of the country, in Mexico City and the State of Mexico, since they are the worst hit so far in the pandemic.

In the last weeks, It is common to see long lines at the refill and purchase sites for medical oxygen tanks. Both the Mexican capital and the Mexican entity have assured that they will offer free recharges, although the waiting times are usually very long.

Mexico accumulates 142,832 deaths from COVID-19 as of this Tuesday, with a new record of deaths in the last 24 hours. Also, add 1,668,399 confirmed cases accumulated. On the other hand, the country has already vaccinated 498,122 people, mostly frontline health personnel that fights the coronavirus.

Ben Oakley
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