Countries in the region advance in regulations on oncology drugs, registries and policies against cancer
7 abril 2021

EL SALVADOR, BOLIVIA, CHILE, COLOMBIA AND GUATEMALA

Several countries in Latin America are making progress in measures to deal with cancer. On March 25, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved a law that creates a National Bank of Oncology Drugs and Supplies. Chile’s Ministry of Health published the regulations governing various aspects of the National Cancer Law. Likewise, the Bolivian Executive Branch reported that the provision of medicines for cancer patients was guaranteed with the disbursement of an additional US$8.1 million. In addition, the Seventh Committee of the Senate of Colombia discussed and made progress in approving a bill to regulate comprehensive care for breast cancer. Finally, Guatemala’s Executive Branch created the National Cancer Population Registry System.

The Law for the Prevention, Control and Care of Cancer Patients of El Salvador provides that the medicines of the National Bank will be used in key areas such as chemotherapy, targeted therapies, monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapies and ionizing radiation therapies. Additionally, it is established that this Bank may promote the joint purchase of medicines, although the operationalization of this power is not specified. Given the confrontation between the Legislative and Executive Branches, President Nayib Bukele could veto the regulation in the short term.

Likewise, in Chile, on April 6, the regulation of the National Cancer Law was published, which regulates the mechanism of application of the actions, policies and programs proposed in the law, specifically in the fight against all types of cancer in both adult and child population. Thus, it establishes that it will be the duty of the Ministry of Health to elaborate the National Plan for the Fight against Cancer, explaining the concrete lines of action to be carried out in this matter in order to achieve the reduction of the incidence of this disease. The regulation will come into force 30 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

On March 26, Bolivia’s Minister of Health and Sports, Jeyson Auza, participated in meetings with medical personnel and revealed that administrative shortcomings were detected in the request for medicines as one of the possible causes for the delay in the delivery of these medicines. To prevent this from happening again, as of March 29, technicians from the ministry have new competencies to speed up the purchasing process. Regarding the Guatemalan registry, it will seek to compile data on all cancer cases, promote research on the subject and advise on the development of health policies for cancer control, among others. The agreement is already in force.

Finally, on April 6, the Seventh Committee of the Senate of Colombia discussed a bill that seeks to establish measures for the prevention, early detection, comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care of breast cancer in the country. The committee made progress with the approval of the presentation report, and unanimously agreed to create a subcommittee in order to reach a consensus on articles 6, 7, 8 and 12 of the bill, referring to the creation of the National Program for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer, quality controls in the detection and diagnosis processes and equipment, among other points. It is expected that in the next few weeks this legislative body will analyze the four aforementioned articles and send the bill to the Senate plenary.

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