July 21, 2017 – A Mexican congressman has called for U.S.-based Baxter International to be investigated for alleged corruption to win a contract to provide health equipment to the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) in a tender that was later canceled.
Rodrigo Abdalá Dartigues, a congressman for the central state of Puebla in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, also demanded a probe into Enrique Dóger Guerrero, head of the IMSS’ Puebla delegation, for possible corruption and malpractice.
“Any peso that is diverted is an act of corruption, is a peso that fails to reach people in the basic services that are constitutional rights,” Abdalá said in a July 19 press conference in Mexico City, according to E-consulta, an online newspaper in Puebla. “These behaviors should be sanctioned.”
The Mexican unit of Baxter, a Deerfield, Illinois-based healthcare company, won a more than 40 million Mexican peso (US$2.3 million) contract in a tender launched March 13 to provide automated peritoneal dialysis machines in Puebla, a city of around 2.5 million in Puebla state.
However, IMSS annulled the tender on June 12 and subsequently called a new one after its internal affairs department and the Mexican Civil Service Secretariat raised concerns of possible collusion between Baxter executives and IMSS officials.
IMSS’ internal affairs found several irregularities that favored Baxter. These include a specification in the tender rules that limited participation to suppliers who make machines for automated peritoneal dialysis through the hydro-pneumatic system. Baxter is the only maker of such equipment in Mexico.
Abdalá said Baxter should be sanctioned for violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. companies and their subsidiaries and employees abroad from participating in acts of corruption or malpractice, Mexico’s La Jornada newspaper reported.
Dialysis machines act as artificial kidneys that filter a patient’s blood to remove waste and excess water. They are used in people with damaged, dysfunctional or missing kidneys. The two main types of dialysis are hemodialysis, which uses a filter to remove excess waste and water from the blood, and peritoneal dialysis, which uses a plastic tube to pump a fluid into a patient’s abdominal cavity to perform the same functions.
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