Mexico and Argentina move towards direct purchase of drugs
27 marzo 2019

Argentina and Mexico are taking steps to reshape drug purchasing at the national level. The objective is to strengthen their negotiation position and cut prices. The Argentine government is renegotiating public purchasing contracts with individual drug makers, with the existing ones set to expire on 31 March. Meanwhile, from April 16 till the end of June, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will also preside over direct drug purchases before, from July onwards, promoting a new system of acquiring medicines via international public bids, under the supervision of the United Nations (UN).

In Argentina, drug makers are currently steeped in negotiations over the renewal of direct purchase agreements. At issue are highly complex drugs, whose purchase until March 31 will be conducted through the Argentine Chamber of Medicinal Specialties (CAEME). Although certain products were left out of these programs owing to no longer being profitable, the Industrial Chamber of Argentine Pharmaceutical Laboratories (CILFA) has now launched the plan Medicamentos de Primer Nivel (MPN), which distinguishes drugs destined for older adults from those for the Universal Assignment per Child (AUH). There is now a chance of this plan being accepted by the private sector and the Argentine government.

In contrast, the Mexican Executive branch through its Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) would only be responsible for supervising purchases from pharmaceutical companies until a new international bidding approach is adopted. AMLO plans to purchase medicines through two mechanisms: direct purchases -between April 16 and June 30- and via international public bids under UN supervision in the second half of the year. Following complaints about the irregular use of funds from the Ministry of Health during the previous government, cutting the cost of drugs is a priority for the current president.