On March 16, President Laurentino Cortizo signed an Executive Decree which regulates the procedure for purchases in case of “critical shortage of medicines or pharmaceutical products declared”. The regulation, which is already in force, formalizes the short-term recommendations made by the technical board, chaired by the Vice President, José Gabriel Carrizo, to find a solution to the problem Panama is facing in terms of high cost and shortage of medicines. The round table also recommended that Panama join the Regional Medicines Observatory of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Among the provisions of the Executive Decree is the definition of critical drug shortage as the shortage of a drug whose lack implies a risk to the health and life of the people, such situation must be declared by the Committee for the Evaluation of Critical Drug Shortage. Based on this, a procedure is established to make up for these shortages, which will be channeled through the virtual system “PanamaCompra”, an electronic system of public procurement.
The decree is one of the recommendations that the technical committee created by the Executive suggested to the President to solve the situation of the price and supply of medicines in the country. The board also suggested the affiliation to the Regional Observatory of Medicines of the UNOPS. They explained that this tool “will allow to analyze in a practical and reasonable way the prices of medicines, to make a comparison of prices of the whole sector and thus make the acquisition more competitive”.