On November 6th, Roberto Lopez, Executive Director of the International Health Action Network (AIS), revealed that in Peru, oncological medicines are being sold to the state at 142% their actual price. Drugs overpricing such as this, despite tax exemptions and despite strategies to tackle the problem from the World Health Organization (WHO), has led to calls for states to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to secure reductions in the cost of medicines. Several countries in the region are making efforts to this end.
In line with recommendations suggested by WHO at its last General Assembly, countries such as Costa Rica, Chile, Honduras and Colombia are working on regulating the prices of high-cost medicines. However, the analysis by AIS, a network that brings together organizations from different countries to promote universal access to medicines, shows that in Peru the price of at least 9 oncological medicines are inflated as much as 142% when sold to the state, especially the hospitals of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and Social Health Insurance (Essalud).
AIS’s ED Roberto Lopez says that if the exemptions for the payment of the Tax on General Sales (IGV) and customs duties are not sufficient to guarantee access to medicines, states could have the option to negotiate prices with the drug manufacturers. Meanwhile, regulatory entities such as ANVISA (Brazil), COMISCA (El Salvador), ISP (Chile) and COFEPRIS (Mexico) have all signalled commitment to promote a discussion at the national level to work on access to these medicines.