translated from Spanish: Drug prices to start falling in March

A sharp drop in the price of medicines from next year. That is the promise of the law that aims for the state to interfere in the purchase of medicines made by pharmacies, an initiative that yesterday was unanimously approved in the Chamber of Deputies and was ready to be enacted. The measure, in practice, extends the supply system used by communal pharmacies to be able to offer their medicines at a low price. That is, the option will be enabled for chain or non-profit pharmacies to apply for remedies from the National Supply Center (Cenabast), an entity that buys cheaper than the private sector. A cost reduction that, according to the law, will be required to be reflected in the final price to the customer.» This project has an immediate impact because it creates the real possibility that this savings will be passed on to families,» said Health Minister Jaime Mañalich.La future law states that Cenabast will receive and analyze requests for agreement pharmacies, vetoing those that have been punished for faults of competition law, such as in cases of collusion. If the agreement is approved, an advisory council composed of authorities and experts will set the maximum retail prices at the pharmacy, considering the reduction in the cost of purchasing the product. Thus, for example, it would be possible to lower the price of a box of Levothyroxine, a drug used to treat hypothyroidism, which would go from its current $8,600 to less than $500 (see table). The director of Cenabast, Valentín Díaz, explained that when it is enacted there will be a three-month deadline of analysis of applications, so in March it could start its implementation that will be gradual. In a first instance, it will be supplied to small or the only drug stores in a locality, while within a year it will be extended to pharmacies in regional chains. In two years, meanwhile, the big chains will be able to access the benefit of Cenabast.

Original source in Spanish

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