Senator Guido Girardi appreciated the announcement of a «drug policy» that President Sebastián Piñera would announce on Monday.
However, he asked the Representative to put «immediate discussion to the Drug Ii Act which is in the latest proceedings in the Chamber of Deputies. Let’s work on it, let’s improve it and in December we can have an instrument that ends abuses in the sale of drugs.»
Girardi explained that «in Chile we are hostages to the brutal lobby of laboratories and pharmacy chains. Nowhere in the world is there a monopoly of three chains that are responsible for the sale of more than 80% of medicines. And they have also colluded to increase prices, without any justification, by a thousand%.»
He added that «the integration of laboratories and chains totally distorts prices and makes Chileans have the highest out-of-pocket spending on medicines in the world. It cannot be that the product of the same laboratory costs 40 thousand pesos in Chile and 500 in other countries».
The parliament reminded the Parliament that the Drugs II Act empowers generic drugs «because it obliges doctors to prescribe the International Common Denomination (ICN) and, for pharmacies to keep in stock, offer and sell bioquivalent generic remedies such as the atorvastatin worth $2,000, and not the Lipox – brand generic – that costs 12 thousand or the original Lipitor that costs 50 thousand».
He stated that «there is only a lack of political will, decision and ability to resist the strong lobby of the laboratories that for months published inserts in the newspapers saying that the Drug Act II was bad… just to keep selling the most expensive products.»
For Girardi it is also «necessary to regulate the margin of utilities that should not exceed 12 or 15%. Currently laboratories apply on average a return of 50% when selling to chains and they apply another margin of up to 80% profit. That doesn’t happen anywhere in the world.»
The senator stated that «progress must be made to make medicines part of the right to health and are 100% guaranteed. Many people after going through the office, the doctor, the tests, the diagnosis, do not close the therapeutic process because they cannot access the prescription drug.»
He said that «it’s not going to cost the country more expensive, because if the state negotiates a total volume of drugs with the labs, the unit cost is going to be much cheaper – as with vaccines – and people would be guaranteed the right to health.»
Girardi said that in the Joint Commission, he will replenish «a motion for pharmacies to be concessions and have decent pricing and margins. We want Chile to join the league of civilized countries.»