Medicines Act Enacted in El Salvador

A National Directorate of Drugs has been created which will set prices using an international reference value and ensure that the cost of medicines is not above the Central American average.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mauricio Funes, El Salvador’s president, has passed the Medicines Act, which seeks to regulate the prices charged by distributors, reported Diario de Centroamerica on their website.

The Act is intended to set the legal framework for the import and distribution of drugs, cosmetics and other substances with therapeutic effect, both domestic and foreign. Among other things, it will prohibit street vending of medicines and cosmetics, and set maximum prices based on average drug costs in Central America.

The cost of medicines in El Salvador is the second highest in the region. An IDB study released in 2011 placed it behind Costa Rica, while a 2009 study sponsored by the American Council of Consumer Protection (CONCADECO), put it behind Guatemala.

"This will end monopolistic, oligopolistic and abusive practices. Today people’s right to good health will be put before the interests of certain groups," said Funes.

The president cited the case of Ciproxin, an antibiotic that costs $23 for 20 tablets in El Salvador, in contrast to its international reference price of just 80 cents.

More on this topic

Agreement to Avoid Medicines Shortage

April 2013

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.

Medications: Regulations Contradict Law

March 2013

Pharmaceutical unions in El Salvador have denounced the regulations determining maximum pricing as being contradictory to the Medicines Act reports that the legal counsel for Fedefarma y Diprofa, Luis Chávez, explained that the pricing for drugs is based on the active ingredient and not on each product: "This is the same as me asking for a point of law establishing a price ceiling on mobile phones.

Costa Rica: Proposal to Regulate Drug Market

February 2013

A bill proposes creating a Regulatory Office to control the prices of the most widely used medicines.

The legislator behind the bill argues that there is a de facto monopoly in the drug market, which must be removed for prices to go down, which in his opinion are kept artificially high.

Drug Price Adjustments in El Salvador

January 2013

Authorities announced that all regulated sales of drugs will likely experience a progressive reduction in prices, which by law must adjust to international averages.

The review article in Coto statements José Vicente, director of Medicines, on the effective date of the regulation of drug prices.

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