SERNAC and the Ministry of Health promote the use of bioequivalents to lower drug prices
5 diciembre 2018

On November 27, the National Consumer Defense Service (SERNAC) presented a study that concludes that generic or brand copies bioequivalents can be up to eight times cheaper than the original drugs.  SERNAC´s director Lucas del Villar called on Chilean citizens to support the use of these drugs. He also revealed that the Executive Branch is working on the release of a Digital Pharmacy platform to promote price comparisons and competition in the pharmaceutical sector by electronic means. Responding to SERNAC’s conclusions, Health Minister Emilio Santelices called on citizens to accept his recommendations and urged Congress to promptly approve the Drugs II bill. This could happen in January 2019.  Meanwhile, the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution urging the Executive to create a Drug Prices international observatory, based on the Colombian model.

SERNAC presented a study comparing the prices of ten generic medicines, copies of brand bioequivalents and originals. Having verified that the last of these are considerably more expensive, the study calls for promoting the consumption of alternative drugs, since “they imply important savings, without risking efficacy or safety”. The director of SERNAC Lucas del Villar explained that they are working on a Pro-consumer Agenda that will create the electronic platform Digital Pharmacy. This will oblige pharmaceutical companies to outline the prices and features of their products, giving more tools to citizens to select the cheapest medicines.

Santelices agreed with SERNAC’s recommendations, arguing that to “achieve substantial changes” in the pharmaceutical market it is essential that the Drug II bill be passed. Although the bill has not made significant progress since January 2018 in the Health Committee of Deputies, the government is confident that it will be passed in January 2019.