On March 28, Congress debated options for improving the regulatory framework for and guaranteeing access to medicines. Drugs shortages and high costs for patients were among the issues discussed. Legislator Ursula Letona (Fuerza Popular – opposition) suggested promoting joint purchases between the Ministry of Health and Social Security Health. Concerning the lack of medicines due to delays in the issuance of health records, the Minister of Health announced she will seek to tackle the bureaucracy that is behind this.
In the debate, legislators claimed that the purchase of medicines “is going through a crisis” in both the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and Social Security Health. They mainly put this down to the public procurement supply system, which generates high costs to the detriment of patients and health service users. They underscored the need to promote joint purchases of medicines between both entities in order to drive down prices.
In addition, the meeting raised the need for strengthening the role of the General Directorate of Medicines, Supplies and Drugs (Digemid), the Minsa office tasked with registering pharmaceutical products. Currently there is a buildup of more than 12,000 dossiers in the agency that are awaiting health registration for entry into the country. In the face of this, and in light of the drug shortages in Peru stemming from excess bureaucracy, the minister declared the institution in a state of emergency and announced it will be restructured.
According to the minister, the aim will be to tackle bureaucracy by simplifying and streamlining processes. In this way, “if there are medicines that are being used in other countries and whose registration can be adequately processed, the time (for the issuance of the registration) should not exceed 48 hours at most. It is expected that through the restructuring of Digemid and the promotion of joint purchases at the national level, the supply of medicines in the country will increase in the coming months.