Legislators debate key Medical Supply Bill
11 abril 2018

The Health Subcommittee concluded this week the discussion on the creation of the Agency of Drug Supplies (bill No. 569). The president of that agency, Dep. Jorge Arrocha (Partido Panameñista) will present a report with the main comments to the bill to the Labor, Health and Social Development Committee in the coming weeks. The main suggestion concerns the level of autonomy that the agency will have. Now, the Committee should discuss the bill. Once it is passed by the Committee, it will be debated and voted on in the floor.

The report focuses on the modification of the bill’s first article. The legislators deem the wording to be imprecise, leading to confusion on whether the Directorate to be created will be autonomous and independent, or, on the contrary, whether it will be subject to the Ministry of Health’s decisions. Therefore, they consider it necessary for members of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Directorate of Public Procurement to present further explanations on this point. These members did not participate in the Subcommittee’s meeting, despite being summoned, but are expected to attend the Committee’s meeting.

On the other hand, Jorge Arrocha (the Subcommittee’s president) considered it pertinent to debate the bill in the Committee, stating that it would allow for a richer dialogue. He emphasized the possibility of including all interested parties, since it is an important bill for the citizenry that will help deal with the shortage of medicines. This initiative introduces new regulations to promote efficiency in the supply chain of medicines and other supplies throughout the country.

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