On November 6th, President Mauricio Macri announced plans for medicines to be bought directly by PAMI (public social security entity) from pharmaceutical companies, in a shake-up of the current drug purchasing scheme. Under the agreement, drug manufacturers will each need to sign their own supply contract, without the intermediation of business chambers. The Government hopes the measure will positively impact the process by which drugs are priced. The provision of highly specialized medicines will continue to be overseen, until 31st March 2019, by the Argentine Chamber of Medicinal Specialties (CAEME) that brings together international laboratories.
Responding to the announcement, PAMI’s executive director said the overhaul of the procurement scheme, which since 1997 had seen drug purchasing be brokered by three separate business chambers, will help lower the cost of drugs as well as free up competition, benefiting small and medium sized enterprises. The application of the new system, which in principle relates to outpatient drugs, will require agreements to be signed by some 160 national and foreign drug makers along with five pharmacy federations.
The measure are set to cover not only the negotiation and purchasing processes but also the payment aspect. As such, from November 1st fees are being received directly by the federations encompassing the pharmacies. PAMI will also stop using the Farmalink system for auditing its online prescriptions, using in-house IT instead. It is thought this will strengthen public control over the drug buying process. PAMI, with its five million members, is one of the largest health providers in Latin America and the country’s main drugs purchaser.