Medicines: Changes Approved in Panamanian Market

In the third debate, the Assembly approved a bill establishing that the government may make exceptions to the sanitary registration of pharmaceutical products in situations of critical shortage.

Friday, October 4, 2019

At the same time, it empowers the Ministry of Health to purchase medicines under the criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO), which will allow that when local agents do not participate in the sale, it will be possible to go through international agents, informed the National Assembly on October 3.

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Rosario Turner, Health Minister, explained to that with the approval of the initiative, there will be "... a mechanism that will allow us to know the drug's traceability from its production to its distribution. With this there will be more security in the medicines that are going to be dispensed. It gives the opportunity to the Panamanian public health system to be able to acquire medicines through the criteria established by the World Health Organization."

"... The proposal focuses on two main articles that must do directly with the purchase of medicines in a scenario of critical shortage. The exceptions to the health registry are being modified and, although what we want is to buy abroad in the face of critical drug shortages, we don't want to lose sight of the quality, safety and efficacy that must be met," explained Fátima Vega, legal advisor to the Ministry of Health, when she presented the bill last August.

According to reports from CentralAmericaData, during the last year the main purchaser of pharmaceutical products in Central America was Costa Rica, with $777 million, followed by Guatemala, with $656 million, Panama, with $620 million, Honduras, with $500 million, Nicaragua, with $375 million and El Salvador, with $364 million.

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An agreement regulating the sale of antibiotics and ophthalmic steroids in the country was approved, which can now only be sold with a prescription.

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