Committee set up technical board to review drug laws with the aim of improving access and lowering costs
5 agosto 2021


On August 5, the Health and Labor Committee set up the Technical Committee to review Law 1/2001 on medicines and other products for human health. Within it, all types of drugs are covered, including oncological drugs. It will also evaluate possible reforms to the Public Contracting Law, regarding the purchase of medical supplies by the Panamanian State. The space will be used to receive contributions with a view to updating the aforementioned texts. Among the points to be discussed, as explained by the legislative and executive authorities present, is the need to address the shortage of medicines and their high costs in the private sector. The legislature assured that interested parties will be able to send their opinions via e-mail to contribute to the discussion.

In line with the above, the National Assembly informed that in the short term the Technical Committee will establish the methodology for its operation so that patient organizations, the Ministry of Health, the Social Security Fund (CSS in Spanish) and the deputies can send their contributions. Regarding the board, the head of the Ministry of Health, Luis Sucre, assured that it will seek to “improve the bureaucratic part and maintain the transparency” of the system of production and purchase of medicines.

For his part, Enrique Lau, director of the Social Security Fund, said that with the revision of this law it is expected that “processes can be improved and conflicts of interest within the supply chain can be eliminated”. Likewise, the President of the Legislative Branch, Crispiano Adames, indicated that “the National Assembly has taken this important step that will allow the insurance of medicines for patients who require them”.

The installation meeting was attended by the Minister of Health, Francisco Sucre; the Director of the CSS, Enrique Lau; the PROBISIDA Foundation; the National Federation of Associations of Critical, Chronic and Degenerative Diseases; FEDEFARMA; the Chamber of Commerce; the National Council of Private Enterprise, the College of Pharmacists, among others.