The Cuestamoras group has announced the purchase of a majority in the Cefa-Fischel corporation, which operates a chain of pharmacies present in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, in addition to laboratories and other drug distributors.
The purchase request was filed with the Commission to Promote Competition by Cuestamoras on May 8, and is subject to approval.
Between 2008 and 2013 the income generated by sales in pharmacies established in the country grew by 61% reaching $405 million last year.
The four strongest and most competitive market chains have opened new points of service have expanded their investments and plan to give the same continuity in 2015, despite the fact that a slight reduction in the historical rate of growth in the sector is expected, of approximately 2%.
Of the 18 operating licenses for outlets requested by the Honduran pharmacy chain Kielsa, the government has only allowed three.
The Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) will exhaust all avenues of communication with the government to ensure the lifting of these obstacles placed on the Honduran company, whose estimated monthly losses due to not operating are $70,000 per month.
Panamanian pharmacies are offering more than medications, turning into convenience stores.
Capital.com.pa reports that: "This is a business model used by large chain pharmacies in the United States, for whom the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) has opened the doors of the country and apparently local pharmacy chains are preparing for possible competition. "
The arrival of Honduran chain Kielsa has raised fears over a market takeover and monopolistic practices.
"This is a Honduran chain entering the market using the hook of discounts and low prices, supposedly favoring large wholesalers, bankrupting small and medium business, and without any counterbalancing competition, they are the owners of the market," said the president of the United Pharmacy Association of Nicaragua (AFUN), Alberto Lacayo.
New distributors, more chain pharmacies and new alliances are examples of the dynamism in the sector.
One example is the newly founded company KPO Alpha, dedicated to distribution, which has found an interesting market opportunity: independent pharmacies, a business where the partners Leonardo and Maria Acuna, together with their team cater to around 260 shops.
In El Salvador the labs will be able to sell directly to pharmacies, bypassing drugstores, which will allow the retail price to be adjusted to the reference price.
From a press release issued by the Presidency of El Salvador:
The President, Mauricio Funes, said the government has reached an agreement with 14 companies grouped in the Central Federation of Pharmaceutical Laboratories (FEDEFARMA) to reverse the decision to remove 38 drugs from the Salvadoran market.
Two bills before the Guatemalan Congress are seeking free competition in medicines, including foreign manufacturers.
A bill submitted by the Lider party, also plans to exclude open contracts. "The goal of the new law would be free competition in medicines including non-national producers, facilitating imports in order to lower prices," said Edgar Ajcip from the Lider party.
The National Hospital "San Juan de Dios de San Miguel" is putting out to tender the purchase of laboratory supplies and reagents for the year 2013.
The procurement process is aimed at acquiring "Supplies and reagents for the clinical laboratory, blood bank, allergy and immunology, pathology, cytology, cervical pathology, human milk bank and pharmacy in 2013.
A study by the Universidad de Costa Rica notes that one company controls the distribution of 80% of drugs sold, with price differences of up to 1,000%.
An article in Nacion.com reports that there is "little or no competition in the private sector of medicine, product of an industry that is "highly concentrated", causing Costa Rica to have higher drug prices compared to other Central American countries."
The Ministry of Health in Nicaragua is putting out to tender the purchase of equipment for cold chain stores, pharmacies and laboratories in health units.
As part of the Program for Development of Health Networks, the Ministry of Health is putting out to tender the purchase of equipment for cold chain storage, pharmacies and laboratories in Health Units in the Local System for Comprehensive Health Care (SILAIS in Spanish) in Metagalpa, Jinotega and the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN).
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