Costa Rica yields to WHO`s pressure for drugs prices
Costa Rica
18 julio 2018

The legislator Walter Muñoz (Partido Integración Nacional – Opposition) presented a bill that seeks to regulate the drugs values (Expte. N°20.838). The bill was presented after the World Health Organization (WHO) invited the countries of the region to regulate the subject in May. The bill author explained that the current drug prices in Costa Rica is higher than the rest of the countries in Latin America.

In this way, the Public Administration will have the power to regulate, fix and supervise a maximum limit to the margin of utility of all drugs marketed in Costa Rica, by adding a paragraph to Article 5 of the  Antitrust Law (N ° 7472). The bill was assigned to the Economy committee and will beginits debate in the next months, after the National Assembly concludes the study of the tax reform bill  presented by the Executive branch.

The bill provides that any importer or retailer can not obtain a benefit greater than 23% when selling drugs. These limits are reduced to 15% for the basic list of drugs published by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS). It also contemplates the creation of a Drug Price Control Office, to monitor the values throughout the national territory, to punish the offenders of the law and to collect the fines corresponding to the noncompliance.

Muñoz points out that the current drugs prices in Costa Rica are higher than in the rest of the countries of Latin America, as there is no regulation for profit margin. The Ministry of Health will be in charge of applying the new regulations. It will take as a reference the average value of the drugs at an international level to apply them in the country. The opposition criticized the government’s tax plan that tries to collect taxes from the sector and, according their opinion, would make access to drugs more difficult.