Mercosur and its associated states have agreed on a rebate for the joint purchase of Tracolimus, an immunosuppressive drug used in transplant patients to reduce transplant rejection. The agreement, announced November 22 amid the XLIII Ordinary Meeting of Health Ministers, will yield an average saving of 69%. The purchase of the drug will be organized through the Strategic Fund of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
The representatives reaffirmed their desire to support the activity of the Ad Hoc Commission for the Negotiation of Prices of High Cost Medicines created in 2015, in order to improve the current offer for medicines against Hepatitis C. They will also work together to develop a list of cancer medicines of common interest for joint price negotiation.
Mercosur has been working on this issue for quite some time. As early as 2016, its member countries began a round of negotiations on the matter lasting until 2017. However, participation was fragmented and no concrete progress was made. The repositioning of Brazil, which in the middle of this year came out to openly support price block negotiations, renewed expectations of achieving reductions in both oncological, antiretroviral and Hepatitis C drugs, as well as in high-cost drugs for low-incidence diseases.
The Secretary of Health of Argentina, Adolfo Rubinstein, announced that from the Pro Tempore Presidency of Mercosur, which his country will be holding as of December, there will be continued promotion of joint negotiations of prices of medicines, to improve access to essential drugs and the evaluation of technologies and policies of coverage.