High Price of Medicines in Costa Rica

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%.

Monday, December 3, 2012

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."

An investigation by the Development Observatory of the University of Costa Rica (UCR), commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), states that "national legislation has loopholes that allow these situations to occur, but there is also a lack of supervision in retail outlets" and that "competition is zero, which allows ample profit margins for medicines that are handled exclusively, which represent four-fifths of the total medicines registered".

"Pharmaceutical wholesalers are central to understanding the lack of competition in the sector", says the document. Part of that, says the research is that "the price of drugs is often determined by the negotiations that laboratories make with drugstores (intermediaries) and then those that these make with the pharmacies."



More on this topic

Pharmaceutical Company Changes Hands in Costa Rica

June 2015

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.

The Pharmaceutical Market Shake Up in Costa Rica

May 2013

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.

Winners and Losers in Drug Store Wars

July 2012

Corporation Cefa-Fischel is gaining more and more of the market share in Costa Rica, with tactics that are being denounced as anti-competitive business practices.

An article by César Quirós Brenes in Elfinancierocr.com reports on up to what point Cefa-Fischel Corporation has reached in the drug retail sector in Costa Rica: "Of the 950 active pharmacies as of 15 June, 67 (7% of total) are Fischel stores.

Pharmacy War Goes to Competition Tribunal

June 2012

In Costa Rica, Compañía Farmacéutica S. A. (Cofasa) has filed a suit over monopolistic acts by the Corporation which owns the Fischel pharmacies .

Cofasa's lawyer, in a complaint before the National Competition Commission at the Ministry of Economy, said that the CEFA Corporation, which owns the pharmacy chain Fischel, "...

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