On February 2, Deputy Zulay Rodríguez (PRD – ruling party) presented a bill to establish a drug pricing regime in Panama, which seeks to regulate the cost of drugs sold to the public in order to guarantee their accessibility to the population. The initiative would reach all pharmacies and stores dedicated to the commercialization and sale of medicines and medical devices in the country. The text was sent to the Committee of Labor, Health and Social Welfare to begin its legislative process in the short term.
The bill proposes the creation of a Price Regime through which the costs of drugs for their commercialization and sale will be fixed. For this purpose, the National Committee on Drug and Medical Device Prices will be created, which will review and establish the value of drugs and their maximum marketing margins. The latter will be done in terms of presentation or pharmaceutical form, or in price per unit of measure, depending on the drug. Likewise, it shall establish a general margin applicable to all products.
As for the costs for all pharmaceutical products, the same will be established from the result of the sum of the effective cost that the establishment paid for it, plus a unique, fixed amount and in Balboas (legal currency in the country that has parity 1 to 1 with the US Dollar) that will represent the maximum cost of profits. In addition, the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (ACODECO) must have a published list with all the medicines marketed, which will include their prices together with the distributor’s sales price and the resale value in the pharmacy.